EJ OBIENA surpassed the Southeast Asian Games pole vault record twice in Europe during his build-up for the 2018 Asian Games.
According to a report by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association, the 23-year-old Obiena cleared 5.45 meters at the Golden Spike of Ostrava on Wednesday and 5.51 meters in the International Stabboc Spring Meeting in Germany.
In the Germany meet, Obiena finished seventh among 12 athletes. Two Chinese pole vaulters had better marks, with Bokai Huang clearing 5.61m and Jin Yao vaulting 5.51m.
The SEA Games record is 5.35 meters, set by Porranot Purshong of Thailand in the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia, according to Patafa.
Obiena missed the Kuala Lumpur Games after sustaining an ACL injury before leaving for Malaysia.
“EJ’s amazing performance brings him within striking distance of a podium finish at the Asiad where the record for the gold medal was 5.65 in Hiroshima (1994) and 5.70 in the Asian championship in Manila in 2003,” said Patafa president Philip Ella Juico.
The son of Filipino pole vault legend Emerson Obiena will still compete in more meets in Europe before flying to Jakarta from Italy for the Asian Games. The training of the candidates for a slot in the Asian Games is being bankrolled by Ayala Corporation, Patafa, and Philippine Sports Commission.