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EJ Obiena clinches gold, resets Asian record in Austria

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Filipino pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena captured a gold and shattered a two decades old Asian feat at the 2021 Golden Roof Challenge on Saturday night (Sunday in the Philippines) in Austria.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics campaigner set a new meet record of 5.93 meters, which eclipsed the Asian mark of 5.92 meters achieved by Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich in 1998.

Apart from resetting the Asian record, the former University of Santo Tomas standout also shattered his personal best and Philippine pole vault record of 5.91, which Obiena did in Paris Diamond League last month.

United States’ Matt Ludwig took home the silver medal, while Turkey’s Ersu Sasma settled with bronze medal finish. Both pole vaulters submitted an identical 5.60 meter but it was the American who did it in less attempts.

With the gold medal already in the bag, Obiena went for the 5.93 meter leap to reset his personal best and Asian record. He faltered in his two tries before completing the feat on his third and final try.

“I wanted this (2021 Golden Roof Challenge championship) so bad. I couldn’t have done it without all of you guys,” an emotional Obiena uttered to the crowd.

Other pole vaulters who competed in the event were Authorized Neutral Athletes’ Timur Morgunov, Netherlands’ Menno Vloon, and Austria’s Riccard Klotz.