Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena dominated his competitors and granted the Philippines' first gold medal in the 19th Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China on Saturday, September 30.
Though already secured of the gold, Obiena upped the ante as he vaulted past 5.90m, resetting the Asian record.
"I think we were able to do what we needed to do, to bring back the gold for the country which is the most important thing," Obiena said in an interview with One Sports.
In his opening attempt, our World’s No.2 leaped past 5.55m before clearing 5.75 in two tries, securing gold and breaking the 5.70m Asian Games record set by Japanese Seito Yamamoto in 2018.
The former Thomasian attempted to set a 6.02m clearance but failed on all attempts of the height.
Trailing behind Obiena, China’s Huang Bokai and Saudi’s Hussain Al Hisam both recorded a height of 5.65. Despite Al Hisam setting a season-best, Bokai bested him for silver after a countback.
Obiena’s win spelled the end of the Philippines’ three-year medal drought in the field of athletics since broad jumper Elma Muros' bronze finish in 1994.
It was also the first gold medal in the athletics category since the late Lydia De Vega’s 100m gold win in 1986.