EJ Obiena sets new Philippines, Asian pole vault records to secure gold in Austria

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Athletics - Diamond League - Brussels - King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium - September 3, 2021 Philippines' Ernest John Obiena in action during the men's pole vault REUTERS/Johanna Geron
Pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena of the Philippines. (REUTERS/Johanna Geron)

EJ Obiena would not be denied a date with history in the 2021 International Golden Roof Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria on Sunday (September 12).  

The Filipino Olympian cleared a height of 5.93 meters to set new Philippine and Asian records en route to a gold-medal finish in the event.

Obiena eclipsed his previous national record of 5.91 meters set in the Wanda Diamond League several weeks ago. He also erased the 23-year-old Asian record of 5.92 established by Igor Potapovich of Kazakhstan in 1998. 

The 25-year-old pole vaulter coasted through 5.60 and 5.70 meters before securing the gold with a 5.80-meter clearance as the five other pole vaulters competing in the meet bowed out of contention at that point.  

Staring down a golden opportunity of carving his name in the Asian history books, Obiena buckled down to business and pulled off the feat in three spirited attempts.  

Matt Ludwig of the United States came in second after overcoming 5.60 meters while Ersu Sasma of Turkey settled for third place with an identical height clearance.  

Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.

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