HANGZHOU, CHINA– Philippine Olympian pole vaulter EJ Obiena ruled the men's pole vault in a breakthrough fashion, needing only three jumps to establish the new Asian Games record of 5.90 meters at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium on Saturday, September 30.
Living up to his moniker as the "golden boy," Obiena delivered the country's first athletics title in the continental level of display since Asia's sprint queen Lydia de Vega's dominance in women's 100m last 1982 and 1986.
Obiena, the silver medalist of the World Championships and the only Asian man to surpass the 6.00 meter-club, cleared the men's pole vault with barely any challenge, being the only athlete to eclipse the 5.75m mark in the tournament.
The golden boy missed his first attempt at a gold-assuring height, taking the bar down. He then soared clear on his second attempt to guarantee gold. After, Obiena moved the bar to 5.90m, in which he cleared easily on his first try to reset the Asian Games record mark, which he had broken at 5.75m, needing only three jumps for the breakthrough.
Moreover, Obiena asked to adjust to a higher 6.02m height in an attempt to break the record which he established, but it was not to be as he missed all three chances for that height. On the other hand, China's Huang Bokai and Saudi Arabia's Huzzain Al-Hizzam settled for silver and bronze finishes at a distant 5.65m.
With this feat, Obiena also erased the country's athletics near-three-decade medal drought in the continental competition, the last being Elma Muros, bagging the women's long jump in 1994 with a bronze award.