Comebacking Ernest John Obiena continued his road to recovery after breaking the Southeast Asian Games record twice in three days.
First, the 22-year-old Obiena cleared a height of 5.40 meters in the men’s pole vault event of the Golden Spike of Ostrava, Czech Republic and Germany last week.
His performance allowed Obiena to surpass the Southeast Asian Games record of 5.35 m, which was established by Thailand’s Porranot Purshong during the 2017 SEAG in Kuala Lumpur.
Obiena landed 10th place after he and seven other pole vaulters recorded the same performance at the Czech meet.
The only participant from Asia, Obiena stayed on course for his buildup for the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games in August, according to Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association chief Philip Ella Juico.
The tournament is an annual athletics’ event at the Městský Stadion in Ostrava-Vítkovice, Czech Republic and is part of the International Association of Athletic Federations World Challenge Meetings.
The second time that Obiena shattered the SEA Games’ mark was at the International Stabboc Spring Meeting at Zweobrucken Westphalz-Stadium in Germany, where he vaulted higher to a height of 5.51 meters.
Here, Obiena finished seventh in a field of 12, with two Chinese athletes finishing ahead of him.
“EJ’s amazing performance brings him within striking distance of a podium finish at the Asiad, where the record for the gold medal was 5.65 in Hiroshima and 5.70 in the Asian championship in Manila in 2003,” said Juico.
Chinese pole vaulter Bokai Huang (5.61) and Jin Yao (also 5.51) had higher clearances, according to Juico.
Jin made the height on his first attempt.
Juico added that Obiena’s feat was achieved only on his third competition after he resumed his build up for the Asiad a month ago in Formia, Italy. He had a year-long layoff as a result of his ACL injury.
The athletics’ chief added that Obiena’s recent performance is still a shade below his Philippine Record of 5.61.