Ernest John Obiena continues his sensational quest to reach the Olympic standard of 5.70m with a remarkable performance of 5.61m Sunday at the Stabhochsprung Classic in Leberkusen, Germany.
Obiena’s feat shattered the national record of 5.55m he himself set during the last UAAP Athletics Championships.
EJ cleared the height in just his first attempt. He wound up 4th at the closeout of the competition behind gold medalist Menno Vloon of the Netherlands, silver peformer Shawn Barber of Canada and bronze finisher Arnaud Art of Belgium.
EJ previously made an outstanding feat when he won bronze at the recently concluded Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar, India with his 5.50m performance.
The son of Filipino pole vault icon Emerson Obiena has now solidified his juggernaut hold of the top spot in the Southeast Asian region ranking for the pole vault.
He is setting his sights on getting the gold medal in the forthcoming SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
“I believe all the hard work that we have put in is now slowly showing results. I just hope I will be able to maintain or even improve on this level of performance at the SEA Games,” said the 21-year old Filipino vaulter.
Athletics chief Philip Juico, meanwhile, is upbeat about the chances of the Philippines in the upcoming biennial games.
“We are hoping to equal or surpass our medal harvest from the 2015 Singapore SEA Games. God willing and with the right strategy and discipline, we can do it.”, Juico added.
The SEA Games buildup of the national athletics team is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, and in part by the Ayala Corporation, UCPB Gen, and Cherrylume Corrugated Sheets and in cooperation with Soleus, L TimeStudio, and Lily’s peanut butter.
The Philippines finished 4 th place overall in athletics at the Singapore edition of the biennial games in 2015 behind Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, respectively, by bagging 5 golds, 7 silvers, and 9 bronzes.