Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 2) – Filipino athlete EJ Obiena has become one of the world’s top pole vaulters after breaking records in Asia and the Philippines in 2021.
The 26-year-old pole vault sensation occupies sixth place in the latest ranking published by World Athletics.
His new milestone came as he climbed 5.93 meters in last year’s Golden Roof Challenge in Austria, breaking the long-standing record of 5.92 meters held by Kazakh Igor Potapovich since February 1998.
Obiena also broke her personal and national best of 5.91 meters after her silver medal in the Paris Diamond League 2021.
The Filipino athlete was behind Swede Armand “Mondo” Duplantis, Americans Christopher Nilsen, Sam Kendricks and KC Lightfoot, and French Renaud Lavillenie.
In December, the Philippine Olympic Committee said it no longer recognizes Philip Juico as president of the Philippine Track and Field Association amid his controversial break with Obiena.
He said he found that Juico had brought “malicious public accusations” against the Olympian, including falsifying liquidation reports on the salary of his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov, which the latter denied.
The committee also assured its support for Obiena, who made history as the very first Filipino athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Games, in his future world competitions.
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