NEW CLARK CITY—Pole-vaulter EJ Obiena won the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games here in Capas town, Tarlac on Saturday.
Obiena did not disappoint his countrymen who showed up at the Athletics Stadium, as the Filipino phenom cleared 5.45 meters for his first title in the regional competition.
That mark may have fallen short of the 5.81 he registered to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in September, but it was still good enough to break the previous SEA Games record of 5.35 set by 2017 champion Porranot Purahong of Thailand.
"It's been a while. We've been training for this for six years. Finally, I did it in my home soil. My first gold in SEA Games, I won a world medal, Asian medal and now a SEA games medal," Obiena said.
He acknowledged this was not his best jump, because he is in the middle of high-volume training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"Everything wasn't really clicking. My legs are still heavy. I'm not yet peaking. I'm just happy to win it," said the 2019 Summer Universaide champion, who was happy to live up to the home crowd's expectations.
"Filipino people were mad amazing today. You made me jump high."
Former record-holder Purahong settled for silver, while Malaysia's Iskandar Alwi got the bronze.
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