ERNEST John Obiena shattered the national pole vault record once again in the the Ayala Philippine National Open Invitational Athletics Championship on Saturday, showing steady improvement as he bids to make the Olympic standard.
The 20-year-old Obiena cleared 5.5 meters to easily win the gold medal over Janry Ubas and Adel Valdecenas, both making 4.4 meters, at the Philsports track oval.
Obiena broke his own mark of 5.47 meters he set in the Philippine National Games in Lingayen, Pangasinan in March.
The University of Santo Tomas standout continued to improve, which bodes well in his bid to clinch an berth in the Rio Olympics. His winning vault was 20 centimeters short of the 5.7-meter Olympic qualifying standard.
Obiena became the second athlete to break the national record after Aira Teodosio set a new record in the girls hammer throw with 38.95 meters.
Eric Cray, Edgardo Alejan, Brandon Thomas, and Isidro Del Prado Jr. eclipsed the 4x100-meter relay mark with a time of 40.54 seconds but the time was not recognized as a national record due to a technicality.
Foreign athletes also made their mark, with Malaysia’s Khairul Jantan and Badrul Hisyam Abdul Manap taking the gold and silver in the 200-meter run, beating local bet Archand Bagsit.
Veronica Shanti of Singapore won the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.19 seconds.