By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Finally, the Philippines just clinched its first gold medal in the ongoing 2023 Asian Games.
Thanks to no other than the Filipino pole vaulting sensation, EJ Obiena, who lived up to the expectations of the entire country after raising the championship trophy last September 30, 2023, held in Hangzhou, China.
Obiena not only bagged his first Asian Games title and gave the country its first gold medal win but he also rewrote history by shattering the tournament’s record when he leaped over the 5.90-meter height.
The superstar pole vaulter erased the previous record set by Seito Yamamoto of Japan during the 2018 edition where he scored 5.70m.
It was a flawless outing for the Filipino after perfectly executing his routine the whole competition duration and was laser-focused on ending the drought of the PHL delegation.
He cruised past 5.55m to kick off his campaign and later on also had successful leaps at the 5.65m and the 5.75m.
Obiena was already assured of the gold medal after he completed his run at the 5.65m after the silver and the bronze medalists were already out of contention at the said height.
The Tokyo Olympian then decided to continue with his run on his way to a new Asian Games record when he only needed a single attempt to soar over the 5.90m.
Obiena then attempted to reset his own Asian record of 6.00m when he set the bar at 6.02m but failed all of his tries.
Completing the list of the podium finishers were Huang Bokai of China who won the silver medal and Saudi Arabia’s Hussain Al-Hizam who clinched bronze.