THERE was a reason Swedish titan Armand Duplantis is the best pole-vaulter in the world.

Filipino star EJ Obiena witnessed it in all its full, majestic glory Sunday as the dragon of the sport exhilaratingly ruled the World Athletics Indoor Championships while the World No. 2 uncharacteristically sputtered to ninth in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Olympic and world champion and record-holder cleared 6.05 meters to claim the gold in the biggest event of the season while the Asian king was surprisingly befuddled and managed just 5.65m in winding up ninth in the 11-man field.

The shockingly mediocre effort came after two straight golden efforts in the Memorial Josip Gasparac in Croatia and the ISTAF Indoor Berlin in Germany where he set a new national indoor mark of 5.93m.

Had Mr. Obiena replicated his Berlin feat, he could have easily seized the silver or a bronze.

But he couldn’t, leaving veteran American Sam Kendricks and Greek Emmanouil Karalis to snare the silver and bronze with a 5.90m and 5.85m, respectively.

It wasn’t that Mr. Duplantis didn’t have a tough time.

He did as he had to shake off some early jitters in getting past 5.85m in his third and final try to stay afloat. That eventually paved the way for another dominating performance that Mr. Duplantis was known to regularly dish out.

Unfortunately, Mr. Obiena wasn’t able to overcome his own struggles and would have to wait for another day to get that chance to beat Mr. Duplantis.

After all, Mr. Obiena did beat Mr. Duplantis twice before.

He could and might do it again, hopefully in the near future. — Joey Villar