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PH gold medal bet Obiena injures ACL, out of SEA Games

/ 10:18 AM August 19, 2017
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EJ Obiena has broken the national record 14 times and, at 21, looks very capable of raising the bar well beyond the 5.55 meters he achieved in a recent athletics meet in Singapore (photo).

KUALA LUMPUR—Ernest John Obiena, the Italy-trained pole vaulter who is expected to deliver a gold medal for the Philippines, dropped out of the Southeast Asian Games even before he could even take the plane out of Manila.

Obiena tore his anterior cruciate ligament and has to undergo surgery after a bad fall during practice at Philsports Arena Friday, one the eve of the national track and field team’s flight to this capital city.

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“I don’t know why he had to still practice when he’s about to leave the next day,” said a disappointed Philippine Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico.

READ: Obiena a sure gold in SEA Games

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But Juico said he’s being taken care of and would still be qualified for Asian Games next year. “He will have surgery today,” he added.

Obiena’s personal record of 5.50 meters is better than the existing SEA Games benchmark of 5.30 meters, making the 21-year-old vaulter a title favourite.

“Good thing Mary Joy (Tabal) won today,” added Juico, referring to the newly minted marathon champion.

READ: Ernest Obiena resets PH pole vault record in Germany tilt

It wasn’t the first time Obiena had bad luck. This year, his equipment worth $7,000 was damaged during a flight back to Rome from India.

He had to ask help from friends over Facebook to buy a new set of poles and bag.

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News and features about 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from August 19-30. Visit http://inq.news/seagames.

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TAGS: Athletics, Ernest John Obiena, SEA Games, SEA Games 2017
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