WORLD Championships bronze medalist Ernest John “EJ” Obiena missed a podium finish following a disappointing performance in the Hungarian Athletics Grand Prix in Székesfehérvár on Monday night.
The 26-year-old Asian record-holder managed just a measly 5.45 meters, which was good only for fourth place in the event topped by Olympic and world champion and world record-holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden with a new meet mark of 5.80m.
Grizzled French veteran Renaud Lavillenie snared the silver with a 5.70m while another France’s bet Thibaut Collet the bronze with a 5.60m.
The forgettable effort was in stark contrast to his record-setting 5.94m in the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon last month that also clinched the country’s breakthrough podium finish in the meet.
The World No. 3 also copped a bronze in the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial in Chorzow, Poland a few days ago with a clearance of 5.73m.
Mr. Obiena though is expected to bounce back from this disappointment the same way he did in the past.
The Southeast Asian Games gold medalist is determined to breach the six-meter plateau as well as snaring an Olympic medal in the 2024 Paris Games and become the first Filipino to claim a medal in the sport in the quadrennial event since Miguel White captured a 400m hurdles bronze in the 1936 Berlin Games. — Joey Villar