Pole vaulter EJ Obiena’s leap of faith paid off after he landed in 2nd place and broke the national pole vault record during the 2021 Paris Diamond League on Sunday, Aug. 29.
The 25-year-old cleared the 5.91-m pole on his first attempt, surpassing his personal best of 5.81-m and recording a new record for Philippine pole vaulting. He claimed the podium finish behind Sweden's Olympic gold medalist Armand Duplantis, who holds the world record at 6.18-m. Duplantis was also alongside Obiena during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The athlete shared his feat on social media, with thanks to the Paris games. The video, which is on the second slide of his post, showcases Obiena flying over the coveted pole, and him screaming in triumph as he realized that he had made history. The athlete also shared via Instagram Stories that he lost his voice after the event.
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The feat comes after Obiena landed at 11th place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after being bested in the 5.81-m jump. The pole vaulter has yet to confirm if he will be joining the 2024 Paris Olympics, but dispelled rumors that Tokyo would be his last Olympic bout after the upset.
“The facts of the matter are simple: I still love the sport of pole vaulting. I still love representing my great country. I still love competing. I still know I can win."
"You can draw your own conclusions from this. I will be back, and I will be back to win," he had shared on Instagram a few days after the Olympic event.
Banner photo from AFP and Ernest Obiena's Instagram