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Obiena places fourth in Diamond League’s Paris leg

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IF EJ OBIENA’S stinging fourth-place finish in the Meeting de Paris over the weekend would be a reflection of what to expect in the Olympics set July 26 to Aug. 11 in the French capital, then the World No. 2 pole-vaulter’s medal chances could be in jeopardy.

Good thing it was not as the Asian king would have at least a month to right the ship and point it towards the direction that he and the rest of the country are dreaming and striving for — end a near century of waiting for a first Olympic medal since Miguel White captured a 400-meter hurdles bronze in the 1936 Berlin Games.

Mr. Obiena managed just 5.75m in the Diamond League’s Paris leg that was good for only fourth.

The Southeast Asian Games champion went for 5.85m and 5.95m hoping for a podium finish but failed in three combined attempts.

Swedish titan Armand Duplantis was again nothing short of magnificent as he expectedly ruled the star-studded field by posting an effortless 6m, besting American Sam Kendricks and French bet Thibaut Collet, who took the silver and bronze with a 5.95m and 5.85m respectively.

The world and Olympic champion and record-holder went after the world mark of 6.24m he owns by going for 6.25m and failed.

He didn’t need to as he already achieved what he initially came for — show everybody who is boss.

Mr. Obiena is expected to rendezvous with his countrymen currently training in nearby Metz and hopefully regroup and soul search for things he needed to do to have a chance at a medal in Paris.

And then it’s off to the races as centerpiece athletics is set Aug. 1 to 11 with the men’s pole vault elimination round set Aug. 3 and finals Aug. 6 (Philippine time). — Joey Villar

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