December 02, 2023

'Tears began to fall': EJ Obiena overwhelmed with emotions after joining 6-meter club

Instagram/EJ Obiena

“Finally 6m!!!”

These were the words that EJ Obiena wrote on social media after making history on Saturday evening, Manila time, as he ruled the Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway.

Obiena could have used three more exclamation points and we would still think those are not enough to express his elation. After all, he won the event after surpassing 6.0 meters in just his first try—on the way to resetting the Asian and national record. EJ broke the old record of 5.94 meters that he set last year at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA.

With the feat, the world no. 3 pole vaulter joined the exclusive six-meter club that includes the likes of Olympic gold medalists Armand “Mondo” Duplantis and Thiago Braz.

“It all started with a dream to jump over 5m and set the national record to now be the 24th person all-time to go over the six-meter barrier and the first ever Asian/Filipino,” said Obiena through an Instagram post.

The Filipino pole vaulter defeated American KC Lighfoot, who needed two attempts to clear 6.0 meters in Bergen. Coming in third in was another six-meter hurdle overcomer, Team USA's Sam Kendrick.

The 27-year-old Olympian admitted to crying after the milestone. He also gave props to his coach Vitaliy Petrov, who has been by his side in his rise to becoming the world’s third-ranked pole vaulter.

“It took a few moments to sink in. But when it did, tears began to fall, there was no greater shoulder to cry on than my coach, Vitaliy. Couldn’t have done it without you,” he wrote.

After recently dominating the Southeast Asian Games for the third time, Obiena’s six-meter achievement only serves as a big boost to his buildup for the 2024 Paris Olympics.