Obiena Obiena: Second Olympic appearance. AFP photo

Obiena secures Paris Olympics berth

July 3, 2023 People's Tonight 445 views

THE Philippines’ EJ Obiena cleared 5.82 meters in the rain-hit Diamond League event in Stockholm, Sweden on Sunday to book a slot to the Paris Olympics.

Obiena needed two attempts to clear the said entry standard and become the first Filipino to qualify in the 2024 Olympics.

The 27-year-old Asian record holder from Tondo, Manila attempted to clear 5.95 meters but failed to do so.

Still, Obiena reached the needed minimum of 5.82 meters clearance during the Paris qualification period which started on Saturday.

It will be Obiena’s second appearance in the quadrennial sports competition since the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Obiena also became the first Filipino athlete to make the Olympic cut.

Armand “Mondo” Duplantis, watched by his mother, attempted a world record, and climate protesters added “an 11th hurdle” in the event.

The pole vault was delayed for two hours by the wet weather, as the sound system in Stockholm’s venerable Olympic Stadium, played “Let the Sunshine In” from the musical Hair.

When it started, Duplantis, the reigning Olympic and world champion, was perfect with his first four jumps in an event

His last clearance was at 6.05 meters, enough to win the competition comfortably over Obiena.

It was fourth time in five summer competitions “Mondo” has cleared 6 meters.

The American-born Duplantis, who competes for Sweden through his mother Helena who was in the Stockholm crowd, then took off his black leg warmers and raised the bar to 6.23m, a centimetre higher than the world record he set indoors in France in February.

He pulled out before jumping on his first two attempts and then brought down the bar on his third and final try.

“This is the most important meet, outside of the World Championships, for me in the year,” said Duplantis.

“I was really fired up and felt I could conquer the world,” he said. “Maybe the conditions and tiredness caught up with me in the end there.”