Pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena should strive harder to overcome Thai rival Patsapong Amsam-Ang in the coming Southeast Asian Games.
Amsam-Ang, the 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist, edged Obiena to wind up ninth in the Poland Open during the weekend.
They both hurdled 5.26 meters but Amsam-Ang got ahead after the Thai cleared the height twice, relegating Obiena to 10th overall among 11 participants from eight countries.
Amsam-Ang bagged the silver medal in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur when the 6-foot-3 Obiena failed to participate due to an ACL injury.
Obiena, following the footsteps of his father and pole vault idol Emerson, has a Philippine record of 5.61 meters and cleared 5.51m in a world meet held in Germany.
Being groomed as arch nemesis, Amsam-Ang and Obiena are both busy training in Poland and Italy, respectively.