Filipino ace EJ Obiena bested seven other top-notch pole vaulters to top the Orlen Cup in Lodz, Poland on Saturday (Philippine time).
Obiena’s season best of 5.81m passed the qualifying standard for participation in the 2022 World Championship set July 15-24 in Oregon, USA.
He beat by a close margin his training partner and 2016 Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil who submitted 5.71 meters. Obiena’s jump was a vast improvement from his previous marks in Berlin and Uppsala meets. Finishing third was Piotr Lisek of Poland with a similar 5.71.
Following them in order of performances were Matvey Volkov of Belarus at fourth (5.61), Pawel Wojciechowski of Poland (5.61m), Bokai Huang of China (5.51), Sobert Sobera of Poland (5.41) and Bartosz Marciniewicz of Poland (NM).
The Filipino, who has been at odds with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association due to previous issues over allowances, has been relying on private sponsors since August to finance his training and participation in international meets.
Since he was already dropped from the national team, his participation in the World Championship is yet to be confirmed.
Nevertheless, Obiena continues his European tour as he competes next at the Meeting Hauts-De-France in Lievin, France on Thursday and on Feb. 22 at the Orlen Copernicus Cup in Torun, Poland.