Pole vaulter Obiena still trailing Thai nemesis
There’s a pressing need for pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena to push himself more, because just last week, he wound up 10th in the Poland Open and lost his duel with Thai arch nemesis Patsapong Amsam-Ang, the Asian Games bronze medalist and silver-medal winner in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.
Although they both cleared 5.26 meters, Amsam-Ang had a better finish after hurdling the same height twice while the 23-year-old Obiena conquered it only once.
Another Thai pole vaulter, Porranot Purahong, holds the SEA Games record of 5.35m in the event.
The Philippines hosts the SEA Games later this year and Obiena is a bright gold medal prospect.
Gifted with spidery limbs at 6-foot-3, Obiena wasn’t able to compete in the 2017 SEAG in Kuala Lumpur after a career-threatening ACL injury sidelined him that year.
The second-generation national athlete and engineering student from University of Santo Tomas already surpassed Purahong’s record last year by clearing 5.45m at the Golden Spike in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Obiena, son of Filipino pole vault idol Emerson, also vaulted to 5.51m in a 2018 tournament in Germany, just a shade below his Philippine record of 5.61m.
Amsam-Ang is seen as the toughest obstacle to Obiena’s drive to seize the gold medal at home when the Games are held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
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