By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Olympic-bound pole vaulter EJ Obiena tried to make a positive impact against the world’s best at the prestigious Bauhaus-Galan Wanda Diamond League Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden over the weekend.
He did but it was not so big.
One of the country’s top medal hopefuls in the coming Tokyo Games, Obiena cleared the 5.82m barrier to finish fourth in the event won by world record holder and hometown bet Armand Duplantis.
As expected, Duplantis was dominant as he set a new meet record of 6.02m.
Obiena, 25, did try to clear 5.92m – a few centimeters higher than his season and personal best of 5.87m – but failed.
The event served as a preview of what to expect at the Olympics scheduled late this month as all eight participants are going to compete in the Games.
Duplantis showed why he’s the clear favorite to win the Olympic gold after clearing 5.62m, 5.82m, 5.92 and 6.02m with ease. He passed 6.07m by attempting 6.19m to break his world outdoor record of 6.10m, but failed.
American Sam Kendricks, who won the bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, came in second via countback against third-placer and Rio Olympics silver medalist Renaud Lavillenie of France after both finished with identical 5.92m.
Poland’s Piotr Lisek settled for fifth with 5.82m, while American champion Chris Nilsen finished sixth with 5.72m. American KC Lightfoot and Swedish Melker Svard Jacobsson posted 5.62m and 5.52m, respectively.
Obiena earned a spot at the star-studded tournament after topping the Taby Stav Gala Street Pole Vault in Bottnaryd, Sweden last Friday.