by Kristel Satumbaga
Looks like pole vaulter EJ Obiena is now fully prepared for the SEA Games which the country will be hosting late this year.
The country’s top gold medal hopeful in athletics showed how ready he is for the biennial meet as he won the gold medal in the 2019 Summer Universiade in record-breaking fashion on Friday in Naples, Italy.
The 6-foot-2 Obiena, 23, cleared 5.76 meters to eclipse his own mark of 5.71m which he set during the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar last April.
Obiena’s performance also surpassed the current Asian Games record of 5.70m which Japanese Seito Yamamoto posted last year in Jakarta.
The PH bet bested Germany Torben Blech on countback while Ben Broeders of Belgium settled for bronze with 5.51m.
Obiena is currently No. 19 in the sport in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rankings, owing to his intensive training in Italy under Russian coach Vitaly Petrov.
His best performance last year was only 5.51m in an event in Germany.
With his current feat, Obiena has already eclipsed the SEA Games gold-medal standard of 5.35m made by Thailand’s Porranot Purahong in the previous edition in Kuala Lumpur.
Purahong’s mark is also the current SEA Games record.
Obiena failed to take part in the Kuala Lumpur SEAG due to injury.
He is also looking forward to competing in the World Championships slated in September in Doha.