December 01, 2023

EJ Obiena resets SEA Games record, wins third straight gold medal

EJ Obiena resets SEA Games record, wins third straight gold medal
One Sports' Paolo Del Rosario

Even the rain could not stop the power and grace of EJ Obiena.

The Filipino pole vaulter proved why he is ranked third in the world as he reset the men’s pole vault record at the Southeast Asian Games anew after an outstanding performance at the Morodok Techo National Stadium on Monday.

Obiena cleared 5.65 meters to notch the new record, while also taking the gold medal in the competition.

The Tokyo Olympian actually broke the record earlier, clearing 5.55 and 5.60 meters in his prior jumps, before he outdid himself in the final attempt.

The previous record was 5.46 meters, also etched by Obiena himself in the 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam.

The pole vaulting champ, who revealed that he twisted his ankle just a week ago, came to the regional meet looking to dominate. 

"I wanted to," said Obiena when asked if he aimed to reset the SEA Games record in Cambodia. 

And twisting his right ankle before this tilt may have caused them to make adjustments, but Obiena's preparation ultimately came through for him.  

"It was a risk, but a calculated one." 

With the win, the University of Santo Tomas student has secured three straight SEA Games gold medals, a fitting spark to his bid for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Team Obiena is set to fly to Italy tomorrow to resume his training.

(With reports from Paolo del Rosario)