By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Filipino pole vaulting sensation EJ Obiena met the expectations of the majority after winning the gold medal in the ongoing 2023 Southeast Asian Games last May 8, 2023, held in Cambodia.
Despite the unfavorable rainy weather condition in the competition time frame, the world’s no. 3 pole vaulter still rose to the occasion after beating the two participants from Thailand in the last round.
Obiena completed his golden leap when he jumped over the 5.65-meter mark, a way better result than Kasinpob Chomchanad and Patsapong Amsamrng who each clinched 5.20-m records for the silver and bronze medal finish, respectively.
The 27-year-old superstar not only dominated in the ongoing SEA Games but also broke his previous record of 5.46-m, an achievement he made during the last edition in Vietnam.
Obiena entered the competition with confidence after surpassing the 5.55-m and the 5.60-m heights in his first two attempts.
As the rain continued to pour, Obiena took it as a blessing rather than a disturbance. He then danced with the water drops for his tournament-winning leap and screamed his lungs out when he completed the 5.65-m.
It’s something that I would make personal, I was done and finished but not good. But just as I’ve said, I came here to win,” said Obiena.
The win gave Obiena his third-straight pole vaulting gold medal and will look to haul more medals in the next editions of the biennial sports meet.
After Obiena was officially recognized as the champion of the tournament, the Filipino then took a bow in front of his Pinoy fans who came and supported him.
“What a way to start my season. I couldn’t have done it like this without the crowd. All the things that happened, God’s plan,” added Obiena.