BREAKING NEWS: Ernest John “EJ” Obiena is literally on top of the world after having just defeated pole vault’s World No. 1 in a turn of events that shocked audiences of the pre-final 12th leg of the 2022 Wanda Diamond League in Brussels, Belgium.
The Filipino pole vault champion emerged in first place among the world’s 10 best athletes after clearing the height of 5.91 meters on his third attempt at the Allianz Memorial Van Damme event held Friday night, September 2, 2022 (September 3 early morning in Manila).
World No. 3 Obiena delivered the rare first defeat to Armand “Mondo” Duplantis of Sweden who failed to clear the same height and settled for the silver with 5.81 meters. The loss to the Philippines’ Obiena is the first of the season for the United States-born Swede who topped 17 competitions, including vaults over 6 meters. Chris Nilsen of the United States placed 3rd with 5.71 meters.
— Angie Quadra-Balibay (@AngieQBalibay) September 3, 2022
“It took a lot of luck, a good day, and some excellent calls to beat Mondo today,” said Obiena in his post-game interview.
The athlete from Manila has a personal and outdoor season-best vault of 5.94 meters.
“It’s always my goal to win, but I definitely have the magic number of 6m on my mind. That’s what I´m training for and I really think that I’m capable of jumping that height. It’s only a matter of time and some good circumstances,” Obiena said.
The victory for the 26-year-old Asian Record-holder improved on his performance at the Oregon World Championships and Lausanne Diamond League, where the Filipino Asian champion placed 3rd for the bronze, behind 24-year-old 2nd placer Nilsen, and 22-year-old 1st placer Duplantis.
EJ Obiena took to social media to say, “Made a core memory today. First @diamondleagueathletics win.”
Obiena had just come from another gold-winning performance at the True Athletes Classics in Germany and went into the Brussels Diamond League event hailed as one of “the four men who have claimed all of the medals at the past three global championships” – including top favorite Duplantis, World and Olympic silver medalist Nilsen, and Olympic bronze medalist Thiago Braz.
Prior to the Lausanne Diamond League, Obiena also won the gold at the 26th Internationales Stabhochsprung-Meeting in Jockgrim, Germany.
The Filipino champion athlete continues his quest for two more Philippine medals in the last two European tournaments on his list:
- 04/09 Berlin, Germany
- 11/09 Schaan, Liechtenstein
SEND CONGRATULATIONS AND CHEERS in the comments below to EJ Obiena for winning his first Diamond League event while defeating the World No. 1 in pole vault!
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