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Obiena strikes again

It was a difficult battle, both physically and mentally

EJ Obiena bagged his second gold medal of the indoor season on Sunday after doing 5.77 meters in the 2023 ORLEN Cup in Lodz, Poland.

Coming off a bronze medal finish in the Mondo Cup in Uppsala, Sweden, Obiena bested a field that included Sam Kendricks, a two-time world champion and 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medalist, as the Filipino world No. 3 made it to the podium for the fourth straight time.

Obiena started 2023 with a silver in Germany and he followed it up with a gold in France before proceeding to Sweden last week.

Kendricks took second place with 5.70 meters as he edged hometown bet Piotr Lisek via countback. Italian Michel Stecchi placed fourth also with the same leap while another Pole bet, Robert Sobera, ended up fifth and Emmanouil Karalis of Greece wound up sixth.

Obiena could have been pushed to the limit by KC Lightfoot, who was second to Armand Duplantis in Sweden, but backed out at the last minute.

Duplantis, Rio gold medalist Thiago Braz of Brazil, a long-time training partner of Obiena, and Chris Nilsen of the United States, the 2022 world championships second-placer, were absent in the Polish event.

“Happy to win the gold here today in Lodz. It was a difficult battle, both physically and mentally,” Obiena said.

Next up for the 27-year-old Obiena is a stint in the Copernicus Cup this Wednesday in the city of Torun, which is two hours from Lodz.

“Now we rest and recover for the Copernicus Cup. Traveling from Sweden to Poland was not easy at all,” said the Italy-based elite athlete from Manila.

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