FILIPINO pole vaulter EJ Obiena placed fourth in the Diamond League final won by Sweden’s Armand Duplantis in Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday.
Obiena was actually tied with United States’ Christopher Nilsen and KC Lightfoot at 5.83 meters but the 25-year old star was able to prevail via the countback rule.
Obiena needed only two tries, while Nilsen and Lightfoot were only able to clear on their third attempt.
Attempting to break his national and Asian record at 5.93 meters, Obiena failed in all of his three tries which eliminated him from medal contention.
Hurdling 5.93 meters would have meant Obiena resetting his personal best and the Philippine mark of 5.91 meters he set in Paris last month, and breaking the continental record of 5.92 meters held by Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich since 1998.
Duplantis set a meet record of 6.06 meters for the victory.
In front of a 20,000-strong crowd at the Blankers-Koen Stadium, Duplantis, the Tokyo Olympics gold medalist, tried to eclipse his world record of 6.18 meters, but tallied three fouls at 6.19 meters.
American Sam Kendricks settled for silver, edging Timur Morgunov, a Russian who represents Authorized Neutral Athletes, via the countback rule after they both cleared 5.93 meters.
Coming off a disappointing 11th-place showing in the Tokyo Games, Obiena, setting his sights for the Paris Olympics, made huge strides in the past couple of weeks.
With a performance that broke his national record, Obiena bagged a silver in the Paris Diamond League and crashed into the top five in the world rankings.
Obiena then became the first Filipino to reach the Diamond League final.