Former world no. 1 Sam Kendricks of the United States provided a challenge to Filipino Ernest John “EJ” Obiena when they competed in the Internationales Springer-Meeting held in Cottbus, Germany on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).
For one, the come-backing Kendricks came up with a personal best for the year with 5.82 meters, which was good for the gold, following a five-month absence due to injury.
Kendricks’ absence saw him slipping out of the world rankings after missing a lot of important tournaments since August.
For the world no. 3 Obiena, this gave him an idea on how he’s doing after the 30-year-old Kendricks went on to grab the gold medal.
Obiena settled for the silver at 5.77 meters on his first attempt, after committing errors in his bid to keep up with Kendricks at 5.82.
Taking the bronze was Ben Broeders from Belgium (5.72), with European Champion Bo Kanda Lita Baehre (Leverkusen) in fourth after he jumped 5.40 meters.
It was Obiena’s 19th medal since last year and his second podium this season.
Last Saturday, Obiena ruled the 5-6 National Indoor Meeting in Padova, Italy where he won the gold medal with his jump of 5.56 meters.
Obiena has firmly held on to the no. 3 spot in the world rankings for the last 26 weeks, with 1398 points.
He is close to surpassing another American rival, Christopher Nilsen, who is at no. 2 with 1434 points, followed in front by Swedish bet Armand Duplantis, the world’s no. 1 with 1606 points.
Last season, Obiena claimed a total of 17 medals, which included 12 golds, two silvers and three bronzes.
During the Cottbus meet, he took three tries to secure 5.50 meters, before Obiena grabbed the lead in the 10-man field after taking the 5.77-meter mark with just one effort.