FILIPINO pole-vaulter Ernest John U. Obiena set a new personal-best and national record after clearing 5.91 meters in the Paris leg of the Wanda Diamond League late on Saturday (Manila time).
Mr. Obiena, 25, topped the previous record of 5.87m, which he himself set back in July at the world athletics tour in Poland before he represented the Philippines at the Tokyo Olympic Games early this month.
He finished runner-up in the Paris meet to world record holder and Olympic gold medalist Armand Duplantis of Sweden, who cleared 6.01 meters to bag the title.
Before clearing 5.91m, Mr. Obiena needed three tries to clear 5.81m. He then skipped 5.86m, choosing to go straight to 5.91m. He cleared the bar in his first attempt.
Mr. Obiena attempted to clear 5.96m and 6.01m after, but was not successful.
“A second place finish at the Paris 2021 Diamond League, and a new national record and personal best of 5.91-m. Thank you, God!” wrote Mr. Obiena on Facebook.
“Thank you to those who keep on supporting and believing, despite the ups and downs. Getting there,” he added.
Mr. Obiena finished at 11th place in the Tokyo Olympics, something he did not envision, he admitted, but now is a motivation for him in further improving his game. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo