EJ Obiena celebrates after a record-breaking golden feat in pole vault.
Jun Mendoza
Knott, Obiena break records
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - December 8, 2019 - 12:00am

CAPAS, Tarlac, Philippines — Kristina Knott did not only break the Southeast Asian Games record but also included herself in the conversation as a potential 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifier.

Olympic-bound EJ Obiena likewise didn’t disappoint and broke the SEAG mark of 2017 gold medal winner Purahong Porranot of Thailand in men’s pole vault.

In a scintillating performance never been seen since the Lydia de Vega-Mercado days, Knott blew away the competition as she took the women’s 200-meter gold medal and broke the meet record twice in one day before an awed hometown crowd at the sprawling New Clark City Oval here.

It was a spectacular effort for Knott, who clocked 23.01 seconds, besting Vietnam’s Tu Chiunh Le and Singapore’s Shanti Veronica Pereira Shanti, who took the silver and bronze in 23.45 and 23.77, respectively.

She earlier eclipsed the 18-year-old SEAG mark of 23.30 set by Thai Supavadee Khawpeag in the Kuala Lumpur SEAG by submitting 23.07 while smashing the national record of 23.16 registered by Zion Corales-Nelson in US NCAA last May.

Corales-Nelson’s feat surpassed the 33-year-old mark of 23.50 by De Vega-Mercado.

Knott destroyed all that effortlessly.

The Florida native went for a spot in next year’s Tokyo Games but came two-tenths of a second short.

Nonetheless, she delivered on her promise she made in the PATAFA weekly relays last year that she will break the record.

Meet the country’s new track queen.

“My coach told me to just relax but I sort of tightened up,” said Knott. “But it’s okay. I won the gold.”

Knott said she would devote the next few months to make the cut to the quadrennial Summer Games.

“I have until June to take the standard. I was hoping to get it here. I will go and train somewhere,” she said.

For Obiena, he already pocketed the gold and shattered the meet record of 5.35m by Porranot after clearing 5.36m.

He cleared 5.45m to rearrange it once more.

Obiena went for 5.55 thrice but failed on all three.

But the gold was already won and the record has been set already.

“This is for our country and all the people who supported me from the start,” said Obiena.

At press time, the Philippines had three golds in athletics, the first delivered by Christine Hallasgo in women’s marathon the day before.

EJ OBIENA
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