Editor’s Note: This article has been updated in order to fix a mistake in the headline.
Filipino athlete Ernest John “EJ” Obiena has set a new pole vaulting Asian record after winning a gold medal at the 2021 Golden Roof Challenge in Austria on Sept. 11.
Record-breaking jump: Obiena had already secured his win after jumping 5.80 meters (19 feet) on his first run, but the 25-year-old athlete pushed the score further with a third and final jump of 5.93 meters (19.4 feet), breaking the record, according to Olympics news.
- The athlete shattered Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich’s 1992 record of 5.92 meters, ESPN reported. Obiena also broke his personal best and national record last month at the Paris Diamond League.
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- President of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association Philip Ella Juico said in a statement, “Congratulations are in order to EJ Obiena for breaking at the Golden Roof tournament in Innsbruck, both the heretofore long-standing, 29-year-old Asian record of 5.92 meters established by Igor Potapovich of Kazakhstan in Dijon, France and the Philippine record which Obiena broke and four times over the past two years.”
THE BEST ASIAN POLE VAULTER IN THE WORLD IS A FILIPINO 🇵🇭🔥
EJ Obiena makes a successful 5.93m jump to shatter the more than 2 decades old 5.92m Asian record set by Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich.
Obiena bags GOLD in The 2021 Golden Roof Challenge in Austria 🥇 pic.twitter.com/JbCfzYOBgp
— Gretchen Ho (@gretchenho) September 12, 2021
- According to Rappler, Obiena told reporters, “I wanted this one so bad. I couldn’t have done it without all of you guys.”
- American pole vaulter Matt Ludwig and Ersu Sasma of Turkey took home silver and bronze, respectively.
Who is EJ Obiena: The athlete was born in Tondo, Manila, to former pole vaulter Emerson and hurdler Jeanette Obiena on Nov. 17, 1995, according to the Manila Times.
- His father, Emerson, told the Manila Times in 2019 that Obiena showed interest in pole vaulting when he was 3. Obiena began his athletic journey as a hurdler in high school when he competed in the 100 and 400 meters at Chiang Kai Shek College and the University of Santo Tomas.
- He earned a scholarship to train under Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov in Formia, Italy at 19 after breaking Filipino-American Edward Lasquete’s 5-meter record.
- He is not the only record holder in the family. His sister, Emily, was also a national junior record holder in pole vaulting.
Featured Image via @ernestobienapv