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Obiena wins gold, sets new Asiad record

EJ Obiena delivers the Philippines' first gold medal in the 19th Asian Games after a record-breaking feat in men's pole vault. (Photograph courtesy of Luis Veniegra)

EJ Obiena quenched the Philippines’ gold medal thirst after winning the men’s pole vault in the 19th Asian Games Saturday evening at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre in China.

Obiena easily broke the Asiad record after breezing past 5.90m for the gold medal in the 12-man tournament.

“A lot of people were expecting it so there’s a big pressure on my shoulders,”  the Paris Olympic-bound Obiena said.

His result was a vast improvement for the 27-year-old pole vaulter after only finishing in seventh place at the 2018 Asiad in Indonesia.

“Thank you, it’s a privilege to be in this position to help my country win the first gold medal,” Obiena, who was the country’s flagbearer during the traditional parade of nations along with skater Margielyn Didal, said.

Obiena shattered the previous record was 5.70 m registered by Seito Yamamoto of Japan in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.

Hometown bet Huang Bokai got the silver medal over Saudi Arabia’s Hussain Asim Al Hizam via countback despite both pole vaulters getting over 5.65m.

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