By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
EJ Obiena needed just two days to recover his ‘golden’ form.
Putting his forgettable last-place finish in Zurich leg of the Wanda Diamond League behind, Obiena rose like a phoenix and won the pole vault gold medal in the ISTAF Berlin at the Olympiastadion in Germany on Sunday, Sept. 3.
His desire to bounce back clearly seen in his eyes – fully focused – the 27-year-old Olympian sailed over the 5.92-meter barrier to prevail.
Obiena actually encountered stiff challenge from Norway’s Sondre Guttormsen and American KC Lightfoot with three of them attempting the 5.92m barrier but the Filipino bet managed to clear it on his third try.
Guttormsen and Lightfoot failed on their attempts and settled for the runner-up honors. Both athletes posted identical 5.82m marks, but the Norwegian claimed the silver via countback.
“It was a good day… for the gold medal. Happy for today,” Obiena wrote on his social media.
Last year, Obiena finished second in the said outdoor event, and fourth in 2021.
The world No. 3 pole vaulter was coming off a historic silver-medal finish in the world championships in Budapest, Hungary with an impressive 6.00m, but coming up short in Zurich which was topped of Sweden Armand Duplantis.
Duplantis did not take part in the Berlin as he was fully focused on the event.
Meanwhile, world championship bronze medalist Chris Nilsen of the United States finished fourth via countback with 5.72m followed by Turkey’s Ersu Sasma and Greece’s Emmanouil Karalis with identical 5.72m, Netherlands’ Menno Vloon, Italy’s Claudio Stecchi and American Sam Kendricks with 5.52m, and hometown bets Oleg Zernikel and Gillian Ladwig with 5.32m.