Obiena competes vs world’s best

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    HARDLY taking a breather, Olympic-bound pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena springs back into action anew today when he competes in the “Who is the Finest Pole Vaulter in the World?” a novel online pole vault competition featuring three Olympic qualifiers in various parts of the globe.

    Fresh from his bronze-medal finish with a jump of 5.70 meters in the Monaco leg of the Diamond League athletic series last Friday (Saturday in Manila), Obiena will be up against reigning US indoor champion Matt Ludwig and Polish Pawel Wojciechowski, the current European indoor titlist.

    The three-way contest is scheduled at 9 am. Eastern Standard Time in the US (9 p.m. in Manila).

    Ludwig, 24, boasts a personal best of 5.90 meters and cleared 5.85 meters in the USA Track and Field Championships staged last Feb. 14-15 at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    Wojciechowski, 31, set a personal best of 5.90 meters in clinching the gold medal at the European Indoor championships in Glasgow, Scotland last year.

    All of them have surpassed the Olympic cut of 5.80 meters for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, a feat that Obiena achieved in ruling the Salta Con l’Asta pole vault meet with a jump of 5.81 meters in Piazza, Italy last Sept. 4, 2019.

    The three will perform at their respective home turfs, with the Pinoy athlete doing his jumps at the World Athletics elite training Center in the coastal city of Formia, 166.7-kilometers southeast of the Italian capital of Rome.

    Obiena is hoping to make adjustments to his form after placing third behind Swedish-American Armand Duplantis and Belgian Ben Broeders in the prestigious Monaco trackfest featuring some of the world’s athletic standouts at the 16,000-capacity Stade Louis II Stadium.

    Duplantis, who owns the world record of 6.18 meters, bagged the gold with a jump of 6.0 meters while Broeders also cleared 5.70 meters on his first try to secure the silver, unlike his Filipino rival who did it on his second attempt.