EJ Obiena rips national mark, cops Universiade gold
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - July 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino pole vault star EJ Obiena smashed the national mark as he put up a golden performance at the 2019 Summer Universiade last Friday in Napoli, Italy, sustaining the string of record-breaking feats by Philippine track and field bets recently.

Obiena cleared 5.76 meters on his second attempt – obliterating his old standard of 5.71m and moving closer to the 5.80m qualifying standard for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – to beat German Torben Blech (also with 5.76m) for the mint via countback.

Blech actually matched the Pinoy’s effort but only made clearance on his third try to settle for the silver while Belgian Joren Broeders took the bronze with his 5.51m output.

“He’s on track (for the Olympics and other major competitions),” said athletics president Philip Ella Juico, giving props to Obiena’s sacrifices.

“He stopped schooling so he can train in Italy and won’t return to Phl until before the SEA Games. He’s making a lot of sacrifices and it’s paying off.  There are people who’re saying this guy is going to be unstoppable in Asia.”

Obiena, the reigning Asian champion, delivered the country’s second gold in the Universiade after chess prodigy Wesley So in 2013.

The 23-year-old Obiena continued the national tracksters’ assault on the record books lately.

Six day before, Fil-Am shot put prospect William Morrison submitted a new mark of 19.64m during the Patafa Weekly Relays in Lingayen, Pangasinan to earn his spot in the SEAG, where the record to beat is 17.74m

The 6-foot-3, 310-lbs Morrison has a personal best of 20m, which is “very close to the Asian Games record.”

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