By Jean Malanum

Filipino pole vault star Ernest John Obiena (File photo)

MANILA – Filipino pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena won the men’s elite gold medal in the Memorial Josip Gasparac, a World Athletics Indoor Tour Bronze category event, in Osijek, Croatia on Tuesday.

The world’s No. 2 registered 5.83 meters on his first attempt to beat Pedro Buarto of Portugal (5.73m) and Olen Tray Oates of the United States (5.61m).

Obiena moved the bar up to 5.93m but failed in three attempts. He easily cleared the bar at 5.51m and made two attempts at 5.73m.

Buarto made two attempts to achieve his best performance. He tried to clear 5.83m but failed thrice.

After clearing 5.41m on his second try, Oates set the bar at 5.61m which he cleared in one attempt. He was unsuccessful in clearing 5.73m in three attempts.

Obiena has qualified for Paris for his second Olympic appearance after the 2020 Tokyo Games where he made it to the final but failed to reach the podium.

He joined the exclusive six-meter club in pole vault with a golden performance in the Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway last year, setting new Asian and national records after erasing the 5.94m he established in winning the bronze medal at the World Athletics Championship in 2022. (PNA)