February 10, 2021 at 08:10 pm
Ernest John Obiena could have gone higher against a tough field, but he settled for a fifth-place finish in the men’s pole vault event on Tuesday in the Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais in Lievin, France.
The Tokyo Olympics-bound Obiena was able to clear the heights of 5.45 meters and 5.6 meters on his first tries, before technical issues took place at the height of 5.74 meters.
Obiena’s performance came as world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden made his presence felt as he picked up another gold medal, but later ended his stint with an injury.
“I know he (Obiena) went out at 5.74 and there was some controversy as he had only two attempts instead of three,” said James Lafferty, one of Obiena’s fitness advisers.
Technical issues concerning the placement of the box and crossbar were addressed during the competition, according to observers and Obiena’s dad Emerson.
“5.60 was not his personal best (at that time). Baka napagod at may technical difficulty,” said Emerson, who added that many participants encountered technical difficulties at the height of 5.74 meters.
Obiena’s finish came after he snatched back-to-back gold medals over the weekend.
It was a star-studded field, with reigning Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil, 2012 Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France, 2019 World pole vault champion Sam Kendricks of the United States, also participating.
The 21-year-old Duplantis vaulted only twice, clearing the bar in his first attempts at 5.6m and 5.86m, before passing on 5.74m and 5.80m.
He then retired due to injury when the bar was raised to 5.92m.
American Chris Nilsen matched Duplantis’ 5.86m vault for second place, while Lavillenie was third at 5.80 m.
Lavillenie passed at 5.86m and failed three attempts at 5.92m, while Braz and Kendricks both missed at 5.74m.
The event is part of the World Athletics Indoor Gold meeting series.
The young Obiena did not discuss his experience any further as he and his travelling companions, Braz and coach Vitaly Petrov hurriedly proceeded to their next event on Friday in Poland.