EJ Obiena halts international podium streak after finishing last in Switzerland

EJ Obiena places last in Switzerland tilt (AFP photo via manilatimes.net)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

EJ Obiena is just human.

After kicking off his tournament calendar on a high note when he established an impressive podium finish winning streak, the Filipino pole vaulting sensation just ended his terrific feat during the Diamond League Zurich leg last September 1, 2023, held at the Letzigrund Stadium in Switzerland.

To everyone’s surprise, Obiena just missed a top-three announcement after the Zurich leg, the first time after climbing every podium during his first 12 international tournaments.

Obiena only completed the 5.60-meter height in the competition, his worst finish since skyrocketing his world ranking to no. 2 several months ago.

After success at the 5.60m, Obiena failed to advance in the championship rounds when he fumbled his routine twice in the 5.75m height.

With only one more attempt left to turn the tables around and hope for a comeback win, Obiena chose to go after the 5.85m but his final try went to waste when he also failed.

Meanwhile, Armand Duplantis of Sweden picked up where he left off and ended the Zurich leg with another gold medal.

Completing the top-three winners of the tournament are Sam Kendricks and KC Lightfoot who won the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Five days ago, Obiena won his last podium finish when he nabbed the silver medal during the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The 27-year-old superstar soared past the 6-meter height which was enough to reward him with the second-place finish.

Aside from another podium feat, Obiena made history after equalizing his own Asian record which he reset in Norway last June 10, 2023.

After an unexpected and disappointing stint in Switzerland, Obiena and his camp will look to go back to the drawing board and redeem themselves in the next set of international competitions.