By Joie Frances Timbas
Thomasian pole vaulter EJ Obiena advanced to the men’s pole vault finals in the World Athletics Championships 2022 held in Eugene, Oregon, on July 23, Saturday morning (Manila time).
The Olympian cleared a maximum of 5.75 meters, which was also the final output of every competitor who made it to the finals, on his second attempt to clinch a slot on Monday (Manila time) to a historical finish as he has a chance to be the first Filipino to make a podium finish in the Worlds.
Obiena did not have an unblemished performance in today’s preliminary as he took two attempts at 5.60m, but regained footing at the 5.65m with a one-time clearance.
Competitors needed to clear 5.80m to automatically qualify for the next round or be in the Top 12.
Obiena belonged to Group B which is composed of 16 total competitors where he is the highest ranked as he is №6 in the world with a personal and season-best record of 5.93 meters and 5.92m, respectively.
The Top 12 was evenly composed of both groups as six from Group A and six from group B made it to the finals.
Not only will Obiena represent the Thomasian community and the Philippines but also the whole continent of Asia as he is the only Asian country to advance in the pole vault finals.
It is Obiena’s first time to clinch a World Athletics finals berth. He will battle Sweden’s Armand Duplantis, Germany’s Oleg Zernikel, USA’s Christopher Nilsen, Brazil’s Thiago Braz, France’s Renaud Lavillenie, Norway’s Pal Haugen Lillefosse, Germany’s Bo Kanda Lita Baehre, Belgium’s Ben Broeders, Turkey’s Ersu Sasma, Norway’s Sondre Guttormsen, and Netherland’s Menno Vloon.