EJ Obiena becomes new Asian pole vault record holder

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 12) – Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena made history on Sunday as he broke the Asian and Philippine records to win the gold medal in the 2021 Golden Roof Challenge held in Innsbruck, Austria.

Obiena's leap of 5.93 meters not only set a meet record but also eclipsed the 23-year-old Asian record of 5.92 meters held by Kazakhstan's Igor Potapovich since February 1998.

The 25-year-old Filipino pole vault sensation also broke his 5.91-meter personal and national record, which he achieved in a silver medal finish in the 2021 Paris Diamond League last Aug. 29.

In the Innsbruck meet, Obiena comfortably cleared the 5.40, 5.60, and 5.70-meter marks in his first attempt.

The world no. 5 pole vaulter hurdled the 5.80-meter clearance in his second attempt, which formalized his gold medal finish in the tournament. But Obiena was determined to soar to greater heights, making the record-breaking jump in his third and final attempt.

American Matt Ludwig took home the silver medal, while Turkish Ersu Sasma settled for the bronze.

The feat in Austria was the fourth time this year that Obiena reset the national outdoor pole vault record.

The Manila-born Obiena first breached the record in June after clearing 5.85 meters to rule the Jump & Fly International Athletics Meet held in Mossingen, Germany. The result was better than his 5.81-meter feat in a 2019 athletics meet in Italy, where he became the first Filipino athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

He then reset the 5.85-meter mark after jumping 5.87 meters in his runner-up finish in the Szewinska Memorial/Bydgoszcz Cup held in Poland last July. The record was again eclipsed by Obiena's performance in Paris.

Obiena will next compete in the 2021 ISTAF Meeting to be held at Berlin, Germany on early Monday morning (Philippine time).