By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Pole vault ace EJ Obiena is not only ready for the Hangzhou Asian Games, he’s fully motivated for the biggest continental showpiece.
He proved this by winning the silver medal in the Wanda Diamond League Final in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday, Sept. 17 (Monday in Manila).
The world No. 2 Obiena cleared 5.82 meters to finish behind two-time world champion Armand Duplantis of Sweden, who ruled the event in mind-boggling fashion as he bettered his own world record..
Duplantis cleared 6.23m to better the 6.22-effort he set in Clermont-Ferrand, France last February.
Obiena cleared 5.62m with ease after passing the starting height of 5.52m. He passed the next height at 5.72m and went straight to 5.82m, which he hurdled in two tries.
He passed 5.92m and attempted to eclipse his own national and Asian record by trying 6.02m, but failed.
It was his 14th podium finish this season and fourth straight after winning gold medals in the ISTAF Berlin and the NetAachen Domspringen both in Germany, and a bronze medal in the Memorial van Damme in Belgium.
The feat made Obiena the overwhelming favorite in the Asian Games which will officially start on Sept. 23.
Aside from his recent feat, he also boasts of gold medals in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia last May and the Asian Championships in Bangkok, Thailand last July.
He was also banking on his historic silver-medal feat in the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary last month.
Meanwhile, two-time world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States bagged the bronze via countback after he, Australian Kurtis Marschall and world No. 2 Chris Nilsen posted identical 5.72m marks, while Belgium’s Ben Broeders and American KC Lightfoot finished sixth and seventh places with 5.52m.