HANOI, Vietnam — World-caliber EJ Obiena easily shattered his own Southeast Asian Games pole vault record on a hazy and rainy Saturday by doing 5.46 meters at My Dinh Stadium.
Obiena hardly broke out a sweat in breaking the mark (5.45 meters) that he set in the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines.
He later tried to reset the 5.93 Asian record that he likewise owns but he could not do so in three attempts after failing to clear 5.94 to the disappointment of the Filipino gallery.
Obiena watched all of his rivals, including fellow Filipino Hokett de los Santos, to finish their attempts before turning the field into his own playground.
“I am relieved and happy. I was the favorite here and I am glad that I delivered,” the Italy-based Obiena said.
Back to blackboard
The bar was raised manually by technical officials and the main scoreboard was of no use since the attempts were written on a blackboard using a chalk.
De los Santos took the silver medal by clearing 5 meters to complete a 1-2 sweep.
Just before Obiena took the spotlight, the US-based Samantha Catantan snatched the gold medal in the women’s individual foil as he vastly improved on her bronze that he brought home in 2019.
Obiena’s gold and Catantan’s own contribution hiked the Philippines’ count to 11-17-17 to occupy fourth spot in the leaderboard behind host Vietnam (33-20-28), Indonesia (13-15-4) and Malaysia (13-7-19).
As of press time, the Philippines has won six gold medals on Saturday, including two won earlier in the day.
In jiujitsu, the veteran duo of Meggie Ochoa and Annie Ramirez also won gold medals in their respective events.
Triathlon starts haul
Triathlon struck early for the Philippines as Fer Casares, a Filipino-Spanish recruit, and the seasoned Kim Mangrobang, ruled the men’s and women’s individual.
Two other Filipino triathletes joined them on the dais: Kim Remolino in the men’s and Raven Alcoseba in the women’s.
Kickboxing contributed to the country’s haul with two gold and six silver medals after the mushroom cloud dissipated in Bac Ninh late Friday while the entire delegation was recharging their batteries.
Jean Claude Saclag topped the 63.5 kg low kick and Gina Iniong-Araos put on a show in the 60 kg low kick. Four other kickboxers had to settle for silver.
Wushu’s gold woes crept into Saturday when Jones Inso, who was narrowly beaten for the gold in the men’s taijiquan on Friday, had to take the bronze in the taijijian.
But what really stood out was Agatha Wong’s runner-up finish in the taijiquan, a placing that put a stop to her quest to win a third straight SEA Games gold.
Wong gets her final chance at winning when she competes in the taijijian on Sunday.