WHEN EJ Obiena breached the six-meter plateau for the first time in his life, the next step is to go after the pole-vault titans including the almighty world and Olympic champion Armand Duplantis.
The Filipino World No. 3 will have a chance to get the measure of the Swedish demigod and perhaps pull the rug from under him as they face off in the star-studded Diamond League’s Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway today.
The World Championship bronze medalist should come in euphoric following his momentous six-meter effort in ruling the Sparebanken Vest Bergen Jump Challenge that gained him entry as the 28th member of the heavenly six-meter club that included Duplantis and the legendary Sergey Bubka.
While slaying the sport’s dragon in Mr. Duplantis is easier said than done, Mr. Obiena knew he is capable of such a feat when the latter caught the former in a rare vulnerable form in September last year during a victorious effort in another Diamond League event in Brussels, Belgium.
If he had done it once, Mr. Obiena can do it again.
But Mr. Duplantis isn’t the only one Mr. Obiena is competing against as eight of the globe’s top 10 pole-vaulters, including No. 2 Christopher Nilsen and KC Lightfoot of the United States, No. 4 Renaud Lavillenie of France, No. 6 Sondre Guttormsen and No. 8 Pal Haugen Lillefosse of Norway, No. 7 Bo Kanda Lita Baehre of Germany, and No. 10 Ben Broeders of Belgium, have descended to the Norwegian capital.
Rounding out the powerful cast are World No. 12 Sam Kendricks of the US and another local bet Simen Guttormsen. — Joey Villar