EJ Obiena is Expected to Deliver Asian Games Gold to the Philippines
Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena is expected to deliver the first gold for the Philippines in the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, China.
The first gold for the Philippines may come from Asia’s best pole vaulter and World No. 2 Ernest John Obiena on Saturday, assuming nothing unexpected happens. As the clear frontrunner for victory, he is anticipated to dominate the competition during the event scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre.
“My aim is to win. That’s the goal,” the 27-year-old pole vaulter said in a interview.
Obiena may not hold the Asian Games record, as that distinction belongs to Seito Yamamoto of Japan, who cleared a height of 5.75 meters during the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. During that edition of the games, Obiena, the Filipino pole vaulter, placed seventh, as he was in the process of recovering from an injury. He managed to achieve a height of only 5.45 meters.
Now, Obiena is motivated to seek redemption against the 31-year-old Yamamoto. Yamamoto’s best performance this season was 5.60 meters, which he achieved at the L’Anneau-Halle d’athlétisme de Metz in France back in February. Joining Yamamoto in the competition are three Chinese pole vaulters, based on the article of PNA.
Obiena boasts a personal best of 6.0 meters. The Filipino athlete recently regained the world’s No. 2 ranking following his second-place finish to world champion Arman “Mondo” Duplantis in the 2023 Diamond League held in Eugene, Oregon, nearly two weeks ago. Obiena also holds the Asian record at 6 meters, which he achieved twice in Budapest in August and in Norway in June.
Obiena views this as an opportunity for Filipino athletes to showcase their talents. Additionally, he hopes to put an end to the country’s three-decade medal drought in the Asian Games. The last athletics medal for the Philippines in the Asiad was won by Elma Muros, who secured the bronze in the women’s long jump event.
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