MANILA – EJ Obiena lived up to his lofty billing as one of the world’s finest pole vaulters as the prized Filipino athlete made a lot of heads turn anew during his torrid European indoor campaign in February.
In such a short span, Obiena, 27, bagged two gold, a silver and bronze medals while touring Poland, Germany, Sweden and France, making him the undisputed choice by the Philippine Sportswriters Association as the month’s top performer.
The Italy-based Obiena kicked off February by finishing third overall behind first-placer Armand Duplantis and silver medalist KC Lightfoot of the United States, in the Mondo Classic in Sweden.
A couple of days later, it was Obiena’s time to lord it over as he topped the Orlen Cup in Lodz, Poland, with a 5.77 meters effort, further boosting his stock as one of the country’s best athletes.
His second gold also took place on Polish soil when Obiena did 5.87 to rule the Orlen Copernicus Cup.
Obiena would then run into Duplantis in the ISTAF Indoor in Berlin where he wound up second to the US-born Swede world outdoor and indoor record holder and Olympic champion.
Obiena, third-placer during last year’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon, is revving up for a gold medal when Paris hosts the 2024 Olympics.
The PSA’s monthly citation of top performing Filipino athletes is being backed by San Miguel Corporation, Philippine Sports Commission, MILO, Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. (PNA)