By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
EJ Obiena boosted his credentials for the coming Tokyo Olympics by capturing the gold medal in the Taby Stav Gala Street Pole Vault competition in Bottnaryd, Sweden on Friday.
Obiena cleared 5.80 meters on his first attempt to prevail via the countback against reigning Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil, who also posted 5.80m.
The 25-year-old Tondo native tried to eclipse his national outdoor mark of 5.87m posted in Poland two days ago by attempting 5.90m but failed.
Obiena actually vaulted thrice, opening his bid by clearing 5.60m on his first attempt before launching into the 5.80m mark.
The win earned Obiena a berth in the prestigious Bauhaus-Galan Wanda Diamond League Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden on Sunday, July 4, where he will be facing the sport’s cream of the crop, including world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden.
Also seeing action are hometown bet Melker Svard Jacobsson, France’s Renaud Lavillenie, Poland’s Piotr Lisek, and Americans Sam Kendricks, KC Lightfoot and Chris Nilsen.
Duplantis will be coming off a golden performance at the Bislett Games World Diamond League Meeting in Oslo, Norway last Thursday where posted 6.01m behind Kendricks’ 5.91m and Lavillenie’s 5.91m.