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Obiena bags pole vault bronze.

Ernest John Obiena broke into the continental elite circle of men's pole vault after claiming the bronze medal in the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar, India.

Obiena cleared 5.50 meters late Thursday night to join gold medalist Ding Bangchao of China and silver performer Masaki Ejima of Japan on the winner's podium. Both Ding and Ejima hurdled the bar at 5.65 meters.

A second-generation pole vaulter, the 6-foot-2 Obiena attempted to push his luck at 5.65m but his lower torso grazed the bar on the third and final try.

Just the same, the 21-year-old son of Filipino pole vault great Emerson Obiena managed to squeeze into the Asian royalty of the event usually dominated by China, Japan and South Korea.

He recently earned a silver medal with his 5.50m performance in the recent International Athletic Meeting in Velenje, Slovenia.

'EJ has been making progress,'' said Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico.

Obiena settled for the silver medal in the 2015 Singapore SEAG behind Thailand's Porranot Purahong, who set a new record of 5.30m at that time.

For the past five months, Obiena has been training at the IAAF Pole Vault Training Center in Fornia, Italy under legendary Ukranian coach Vitaly Petrov with Olympic gold medalist Thiago Braz as training partner.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 7, 2017
Words:269
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