Olympian EJ Obiena shatters Asian record, joins ‘6-meter club’

NORWAY/MANILA – Filipino Olympian Ernest J Obiena has set a new Asian pole vault record to dominate the Bergen Jump Challenge in Bryggen, Norway on Saturday (Philippine time).

Obiena, world’s number 3 pole vaulter, achieved his best clearance by clearing 6.0 meters in a single attempt to join the “6-meter club.”
 The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) led by president Terry Capistrano immediately commended Obiena for his six-meter performance at the Bergen Jump Challenge in Bryggen, Norway on June 10.
The 27-year-old Obiena won the tournament, erasing the Asian record of 5.94m he set in winning the bronze medal at the World Athletics Championship in Eugene, Oregon last year.

KC Lightfoot of the United States also cleared the same height, but finished behind Obiena as he needed two attempts to reach 6.0m.

Another American, Sam Kendricks ended up at third place after hurdling 5.88m.

“While we are all elated with Ernest John “EJ” Obiena’s 6-meter performance in Norway the other day, we, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA), believe that he can do better in the coming months and beyond knowing what he’s capable of as a world class athlete,” said Capistrano in a statement.

“We are happy and proud of EJ for becoming the first Asian athlete to join the 6-meter club in the men’s pole vault. But we know he is capable of doing better because of his continuous training and competing abroad under veteran coach Vitaly Petrov plus his perseverance.

“He is certainly an extremely gifted athlete. There is still a lot of work to be done in order for him to get to where he should be. He has been working hard and smart to get to 6-m,” he added.

Capistrano also thanked the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee “for their unconditional support”.

Pole vault legend Sergey Bubka was the first to achieve the 6-meter feat on July 13, 1985.

Armand Duplantis of Sweden, currently world No. 1, joined the six-meter club in 2018, winning the gold medal with a world Under-20 record of 6.05m at the European Championships in Berlin, Germany.