Philippines’ Obiena beats Olympic pole vault champion Duplantis to win first Diamond League title

© EJ Obiena Facebook
© EJ Obiena Facebook

Brussels, Belgium, September 2, 2022: The Philippines’ Olympic pole vaulter Ernest “EJ” Obiena made a major breakthrough in his career by winning the Wanda Diamond League title in Brussels on Friday night.

The 26-year-old Tokyo Olympian cleared 5.91 metres to win the gold medal and eclipse the Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medallist, 2022 world champion and world record-holder Armand “Mondo” Duplantis. The Swede took silver with 5.81 and Christopher Nilsen of the United States finished third with 5.71.

“Made a core memory today – first Diamond League win,” Obiena said on social media.

His final attempt at 5.91 was a true roller-coaster, as he skimmed the bar on the way down; it bounced, wobbled but, crucially, stayed up.

“The pole-vaulting gods are shining down on Ernest John Obiena for the moment. That was a clutch jump there – and he’s over and still alive in this competition,” the commentator said.

Doha 2019 Asian champion Obiena had a disappointing Tokyo Olympics, finishing 11th with a modest 5.70, but is showing great progress and will have his sights set on a podium place at Paris 2024 if he can maintain this sparkling form through to his second Olympic Games.