SEA Games 2023: Natalie Uy bags pole vault bronze, admits still has ‘a lot to work on’
PHNOM PENH—Natalie Uy should brace herself for a long road ahead toward next year’s Olympics in Paris.
The 28-year-old Filipino-American pole vaulter managed to clear 4.00 meters in claiming a bronze medal on Wednesday night at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, far from the Olympic qualifying height of 4.70m.
“I would love to be there (Paris Olympics), but a lot of work should be done,’’ said Uy after the 2019 SEA Games champion failed to hurdle 4.05m twice at the Morodok Techo National Stadium.
Indonesia’s Diva Jayadi clinched the gold after clearing 4.05m while Malaysia’s Nor Sarah Adi settled for a silver medal with the same height, but with more attempts.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Uy is looking forward to competing in the Asian Athletics Championships on July 12-16 in Thailand before flying again from the States in time for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September.
“I have a lot to work on. I failed on two attempts (4.05m) because my step wasn’t on. It has to be precise and exact,’’ said Uy, set to tie the knot in two weeks with Brazilian physical therapist Samuel Rego whom she met on a dating app.
“You have to attack the vault with all that you have, but I was a little hesitant,’’ added Uy, who still owns the SEA Games standard of 4.25m.
Aside from the Asian champs and the Asian Games, the charming SEA Games record-holder wants to progress gradually by competing in several tournaments, including the 2023 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Bangkok on Nov. 17-26 and more high-level meets in the US.
“The Olympics is my goal. That’s what I want to do,’’ said Uy.