Freeman Cebu Sports

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WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde - The Freeman

This week the winged EJ Obiena vaulted to gold in the track and field indoor tournament in Berlin with a new indoor Asian record of 5.93m. This is the second straight gold for the 6’2” track and field hero, in yet another proof he is our brightest hope for an Olympic medal this year.

The vault phenom from Tondo has been soaring to never before heights, defying gravity just as he defies the odds of being a national athlete. He is the best track and field Filipino athlete ever and one of the best in all of Philippine sports.

But there’s the rub, to borrow the biting column of the departed Conrado de Quiros whose words of wisdom resonated like a modern gospel at a time when those who are right are wronged, it is an indoor tournament and indoor record.

Not to condescend Obiena’s latest ascent, but who remembers indoor champions? Even the Jamaican great Merlene Ottey was not content with her 60m world indoor record. It is nothing compared to the Olympic and world century dash gold she both missed by a hairline, literally, despite her consistency and longevity.

For us, EJ’s history-making bronze and silver finishes in the worlds matter more. The ultimate is yet to come, not the world indoor championships next month in the United Kingdom. Paris is the place. Outdoors, where the entire world will be watching.

Indeed, there are sports better played indoor or outdoor. For some reason, basketball belongs to the dome. Volleyball too. But the most popular sport is and should be played in a stadium of pandemonium. Soccer, played by an estimated 265 million people that accounts for at least 4% of world population. Wildly popular, except here.

Surprisingly, badminton is the second most popular sport in the world. An estimated 220 million people play what looks like a sluggish indoor sport, largely from the largest continent in the world where it is most popular. More surprisingly, an Indian incredibly smashed the shuttlecock at 565 km/hour to record the fastest badminton shot, faster than the fastest speed in Formula 1. Should have been the drag race, hands down, but definitely not the race among queens of exaggeration.

Table tennis, as the name suggests, is and should be played indoors. Also one of the fastest sports, the naked eye is blinded by the blur of a white round object zapping the air, without reference to apparition readily believed by the hopeless hopeful for redemption. Many have nothing to redeem, they never had anything to begin with, have nothing to continue with, and end up believing in something. Otherwise known as faith that no one should argue against.

Lawn tennis, as the name suggests, is and should be played outdoors. Rafael Nadal does not like to play under the roof. He says it’s humid. Understandably, the king of clay sweats like a river with his brutal all-out play, his bodily fluid drips all over his body from start to finish, without reference to the whitening drip in the senate.

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