By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
EJ Obiena bettered his own national record in men’s pole vault as he finished second behind Olympic champion Armand Duplantis in the Meeting de Paris Wanda Diamond League Saturday.
Competing before a huge crowd, Obiena cleared 5.91 meters on his first attempt to settle for a runner up on a day the phenomenal Duplanti registered new meet record of 6.01m in the elite 11-player field.
His feat did not only eclipse his PH mark of 5.87 in a Polish meet last June but also made up for a fifth place finish in the Athletissima Wanda Diamond League in Lausanne, Switzerland two days ago where he posted 5.52m.
More than that, it was a marked improvement from a disappointing 11th place finish in the Tokyo Olympics where he posted 5.70m.
Obiena attempted to clear 5.96m twice but failed in both occasions.
He was also unsuccessful when he tried 6.01m.
American champion Chris Nilsen, who won silver in the Tokyo Olympics, came in third with 5.81m, while 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medalist Sam Kendricks also of the United States finished fourth with 5.73m.
Other finishers were American KC Lightfoot (5.73m), France’s Valentin Lavillenie (5.65m), Poland’s Piotr Lisek (5.55m), France’s Ethan Cormont (5.55m), Australia’s Kurtis Marschall (5.45m) and France’s Renaud Lavillenie (5.30m).
The event was Obiena’s second after the Tokyo Olympics.