With Olympic champion Armand Duplantis showing why he is second to none, Filipino EJ Obiena made it to the podium for the third straight time with a bronze medal finish in the Mondo Classic at the IFU Arena in Uppsala, Sweden.
Obiena got the job done by equaling his own Philippine record of 5.91 meters in his third attempt while KC Lightfoot of the United States also cleared the same height but grabbed the silver since it only took him two tries.
Duplantis was simply out of their league as the US-born Swede did 6.10 meters to take top honors in the 11-man field.
This was Duplantis’ first competition in the indoor season of the year as he aims to set a new indoor pole vault world record of 6.22m.
Australian Kurtis Marschall and Pal Haugen Lillefosse of Norway came in fourth and fifth place with 5.82m, followed by Belgium’s Ben Broeders, France’s Thibaut Collet, American Sam Kendricks, Thiago Braz of Brazil and German Bo Kanda Lita Baehre were tied for sixth with 5.67m
Emmanouil Karalis of Greece was the only competitor who never made past the starting mark of 5.52m.
Fresh from capturing the gold in a recent meet in France and a silver in Germany to kick off 2023, Obiena was raving about his latest performance even though he could still not reach six meters.
“Equaled the Philippine Indoor Record and bronze with this jump here in the Mondo Classic. Even got a little fist bump from Mondo Duplantis,” Obiena said in a social media post.
It was the first time Obiena and Duplantis ran into each other in an event following the Filipino world No. 3’s upset victory in the Brussels Diamond League in September last year.
Before coming to Sweden, Obiena ruled the Perche en Or tournament Stab Velodrome in Roubaix, France.
His first event in the new year happened in the Interationales-Springer Meeting at the Lausitz-Arena in Cottbus, Germany last 26 January when the 27-year-old Obiena wound up second.