Obiena rips Asian mark, rules Austria competition

MANILA, Philippines — EJ Obiena of the Philippines raised the bar on the Asian level yesterday, setting a new national and continental record at the International Golden Roof Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria.

The 25-year-old Obiena cleared 5.93 meters to rule the tourney in great fashion, eclipsing the old Asian mark of Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich (5.92m) set in France in 1992.

Obiena also surpassed his own Philippine record (5.91m) tallied in the Paris leg of the Diamond League last month.

Matt Ludwig of the United States and Turkey’s Ersu Sasma took the silver and the bronze, respectively.

Obiena rewriting the Asian record books, however, was not a walk in the park.

With the gold medal in the bag as the last man standing after hurdling 5.60m, 5.70m and 5.80m, Obiena leapt for the stars but fell short in the first two attempts.

On his last attempt, the second generation athlete took a deep breath, clutched his pole, sprinted and vaulted his way to history – clenching his fists in euphoria upon a perfect landing.

Obiena’s stunning Austria stint came after a pair of silver medals in Poland and Paris, and a fourth-place finish in the Diamond League finals in Switzerland.

But he is not done yet, seeking greater heights in the ongoing International Stadionfest (ISTAF) in Berlin, Germany.

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) lauded Obiena’s feat, and thanked the Philippine Sports Commission and the Ayala Corporation for supporting the latter’s campaign.

“The outstanding improvement in Obiena’s performance is certainly due also to the technical adjustments made by coach Vitaly (Petrov) and executed by Obiena,” said PATAFA president Dr. Philip Ella Juico.

“Even minor and subtle adjustments, unnoticed by laymen like us, can become a game changer and turning point at the highest level of a very technical and dangerous event like pole vault,” he added.

“I also like to cite the continuing substantial financial and administrative support of the PSC and chairman Butch Ramirez.”

Date: September 13, 2021 | By: John Ulanday | Newspaper: Philippine Star | Source: