Philippines’ Ernest John Obiena has become the latest pole vault six-meter club member, clearing 6.00m on his first attempt at the Sparebanken Vest Bergen Jump Challenge in Bryggen, Norway, on Saturday (10).
The 27-year-old set his previous personal best, an Asian record of 5.94m, when claiming bronze at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon last year. In Bergen, he added six centimeters to that area record with just one vault – clearing 5.94m on his first go and then 6.00m also on his first attempt.
That put him ahead of USA’s KC Lightfoot on countback, and Obiena was confirmed the winner when both he and Lightfoot failed their three attempts at 6.06m. Obiena entered the competition at 5.53m and needed two tries to clear that opening height.
He then passed at 5.68m and cleared 5.76m and 5.82m on his first attempts. After failing once at 5.88m, he decided to pass his remaining attempts at that height and next tried 5.94m, equalling his personal best when he cleared that first time.
Looking to hit new heights, he then lined up to try 6.00m and soared clear. Lightfoot – who improved the North American record to 6.07m in Nashville earlier this month – needed two attempts at 6.00m and finished second on countback.
USA’s Sam Kendricks, the two-time world gold medallist and former North American record-holder, finished third on 5.88m, while Poland’s multiple world medallist Piotr Lisek placed fourth on 5.76m.