EJ Obiena Soars to Bronze at Diamond League Brussels, Continually Challenging World No.1 Duplantis

EJ Obiena Diamond League Brussels
EJ Obiena showcases Filipino pride, soaring at the Wanda Diamond League Brussels meeting. Photo from EJ Obiena social media.

Filipino champion Ernest John “EJ” Obiena continued his medal-winning streak overseas, earning a bronze medal this time and firmly etching his name in the pantheon of men’s pole vault greats at the 2023 Allianz Memorial Van Damme Meeting of the Wanda Diamond League in Brussels, Belgium.

Navigating the electrifying atmosphere of Brussels, EJ Obiena—the world’s third-ranked marvel from the Philippines—rose above the challenge, gracefully clearing the towering bar at 5.92 meters on his third gallant attempt. This triumphant height not only mirrored his recent double gold conquests in Germany but also improved on his previous golden leap of 5.91m in 2022, which brought a thrilling end to the reign of World No. 1 Armand Duplantis of Sweden.

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Asia’s record holder clinched the coveted bronze, with the two-time world champion American Sam Kendricks snatching silver by soaring to the same height in just a single attempt. While Duplantis reclaimed his throne with dizzying ascents of 6.02 and 6.10 meters, both the Filipino challenger and the American sentinel issued a formidable threat with their attempts at 6.02m.

Standing as a living testament to dedication at an impressive 1.88 meters, Obiena’s journey at Brussels unfolded with impeccable precision: masterfully negotiating 5.62m in two tries, gliding effortlessly over 5.82m in one, and finally capturing bronze with his signature flair, all the while elevating his status amidst the world’s ten best vaulters who graced the Brussels skyline and the newly refurbished King Baudouin Stadium on that fateful September 8 evening.

Hailing from the vibrant heart of Tondo in Manila, this 27-year-old athletic prodigy consistently issues a challenge to Duplantis. The world still vividly recalls their epic duel in Budapest during the World Championships last August, where Obiena’s silver-winning leap over the monumental 6.00m barrier placed him right beside Duplantis, and repeated his feat in June which brought him into the elite 6-Meter Club—a league of only 28 men who’ve soared through such glorious heights. The Worlds Silver briefly placed Obiena as World No. 2 again, repeating his earlier 2nd place rank next to Duplantis after winning the Asian Championships in July.

Reflecting on his Brussels adventure, Obiena voiced his relentless drive on social media: “Happy with the consistency but definitely lots of things to work on.” The horizon beckons with more challenges as he gears up for the Diamond League Final on September 16-17 at the legendary Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. And come September 30th, the Philippine skies will look towards Hangzhou, China, eagerly awaiting more of Obiena’s celestial ballet at the Asian Games.

WATCH his medal-winning soar at the Diamond League in Brussels here and join us in celebrating EJ Obiena’s sky-high achievements as he raises the bar in the world of pole vaulting. Help us spread the inspiring journey of this Filipino champion by sharing this article with your friends, family, and fellow sports enthusiasts. Let’s bring EJ’s story to every Filipino home and heart. Share the triumph now!

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Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.