It runs in the family.
Emily Jean Obiena - daughter of Emerson who once held the Philippine men’s pole vault record and sister of Ernest John “EJ” who tied the existing men’s pole vault record - broke the junior record for pole vault with her 3.20 meter effort at the Philsports oval during the 2014 Philippine National Games.
A strong early evening wind had just settled down when the five-foot-six Emily cleared 3.2 meters on her first attempt, and she did it with only her mother Jeannette watching from the sidelines.
The 16-year-old Obiena, a third year high school student at Chiang Kai Shek School, broke past the 3.10 meter mark twice that evening after she passed the bar at 3.15 meters.
“Malakas po ang hangin. Pero noong nasa higher heights na ako, umayos na siya (There was a strong wind. But when I attempted the higher marks the wind died down),” said Obiena, who did it in the absence of her father Emerson and brother EJ.
Emily Jean set the record during a particularly productive day at the PNG when multiple records were set Tuesday, May 20.
Born February 28, 1998 Obiena broke the 3.10 meter record of Natasha Marie Nalus. Obiena is an incoming fourth year high school student.
“It was very unexpected because of the strong side wind during the warm up heights. But thank God I was able to manage the situation. I was able to do 3.20 meters during training but have not yet done it officially in actual competition until today,” said Obiena.
Her brother EJ holds the national junior boys record at 4.91 meters he set last year. He has since done better heights. He is presently in Formia, Italy for a 90-day training stint with their father Emerson, who used to hold the Philippine men’s record at 4.93 meters.
EJ recently cleared the 5.0-meter requirement set by former world record holder Sergei Bubka, vice president of the International Association of Athletics Federations who is spearheading the training camp. The mark is also the existing Philippine men’s record.
Emerson, who is now the national coach in pole vault, is a two-time SEA Games silver medalist (1993 and 1999) in his sport. He won his last SEA games medal, a bronze, during the 2005 Southeast Asian Games held at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila when he was already 41 years old.
Emerson’s official best jump is 4.95 meters which he set during the 1999 National Open.
Last year, Emily Jean cleared 3.10 meters in the 2013 Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, and equaled the national mark which University of the Philippines bet Natasha Nalus in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines three years ago.
She has an unrecognized height of 3.14 which Obiena cleared early this year in a Fil-Chinese meet.
Cebu City’s Kristie Kay Vinco and University of Santo Tomas’ Rechelle Mae Abotalmo took the silver and bronze with identical 2.4 meter performances.
Obiena, who earned a slot to the Asian junior meet in Taiwan next month, made an attempt at 3.2 meters, but her back hit the bar thrice.
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