EJ Obiena finally nailed a gold medal this year by topping a field he’s bound to face in the Tokyo Olympics next year.
The 24-year-old Filipino pole vaulter emerged winner of the 59th Ostrava Golden Spike in Czech Republic.
In winning the gold in Wednesday, Obiena recorded his season best of 5.74 meters to beat a tough cast that included reigning two-time World Champion Sam Kendricks of the US and defending Olympic title holder Thiago Braz of Brazil.
Renauld Lavilenie of France, the silver medalist in the Rio De Janeiro Games and likewise a former world champion, also cleared the bar at 5.74 meters, but Obiena was declared the winner via a countback after both tracksters registered their best effort in their second attempt.
Kendricks salvaged the bronze with 5.64 meters. He was also bronze medal winner in the Olympics in 2016.
Braz also finished with 5.64 meters but settled for fourth place.
The meet is a gold-tier event of the World Athletics Continental Tour in the Czech Republic and attracted two former world champion as well in Pawel Wojciechowski of Poland and Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe.
Obiena, who’s currently based in Italy, earlier won a bronze and a pair of silver medals as he resumed his training and preparation for the Tokyo Games.
He’s set to compete in other pole vault meets around Europe for the rest of the month.