PARIS Olympics-bound Filipino pole-vaulter EJ Obiena showed some expected rust but did just enough to capture the gold in the Memorial Josip Gasparac in Osijek, Croatia Tuesday.

The World Championships silver medalist and World No. 2 used his experience to shake off some jitters and cleared 5.83 meters in besting nine other rivals and claiming his first triumph of the year.

“Indoor season finally kicked off,” said Mr. Obiena via his Facebook page.

While his performance wasn’t his best, he still eclipsed the meet record of 5.72m set by Greek Olympian Emmanouil Karalis a year ago.

Portuguese Pedro Buaro took the silver with a 5.73m while American Olen Tray the bronze with a 5.61m.

And he’s just warming up.

Mr. Obiena is expected to perform better in the next event — the ISTAF Indoor slated tomorrow (Feb. 23) at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany.

Then he’ll proceed to Glasgow, Scotland for the World Indoor Championships on March 3.

All this for one goal — a medal, possibly a gold, in the Paris Olympics this July. — Joey Villar