POLE-vaulter Ernest John U. Obiena rose to fifth in the world rankings in the latest World Athletics update.
Twenty-five-year-old Mr. Obiena climbed a rung from the previous week’s list boosted by his silver medal finish in the Paris leg of the Wanda Diamond League last weekend where he set a new personal best and Philippine record.
As of Aug. 31, World Athletics listed Mr. Obiena at fifth with a score of 1,361 points.
Sweden’s world record holder and Olympic gold medalist Armand Duplantis continues to lead the rankings with 1,538 points, followed by Americans Christopher Nilsen (1,423) and Sam Kendricks (1,393) and France’s Renaud Lavillenie (1,380).
The Philippine bet, who represented the country in the recent Tokyo Olympic Games, shared the development on his official Facebook page, describing it as part of his journey to improvement and a proud moment he is sharing with the Filipinos.
“World no. 5. An ordinary man guided by God’s extraordinary grace. I may not meet the expectations, but I keep trying. Thank you for all the prayers and support. The journey continues and I am proud to carry the nation with me. Getting there,” he wrote.
In the recent Paris event, Mr. Obiena finished second to Mr. Duplantis but cleared 5.91 meters, topping the previous national record of 5.87m which he himself established in July this year in Poland.
In clearing 5.91m, he only needed one attempt. Mr. Obiena tried to clear 5.96m and 6.01m after but was not successful.
For setting a new Philippine record, the Philippine Sports Commission said Mr. Obiena will receive P250,000 as incentive under Republic Act 10699, or the expanded National Athletes, Coaches, and Trainers Benefits and Incentives Act. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo