By Kristel Satumbaga

EJ Obiena boosted its Southeast Asian Games preparation on Friday after resetting his Philippine record in men’s pole vault at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Naples, Italy.

D TLHtNX4AEcZBB 640x360 - Pole vault: Obiena bags gold medal in Naples Universiade

EJ Obiena (center) receives his gold medal in men’s pole vault at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Naples, Italy on Friday. (Tournament website) / MANILA BULLETIN

Obiena, 23, leaped 5.76 meters en route to the gold medal to eclipse his own mark of 5.71m set at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar last April.

The Filipino bet bested Germany Torben Blech on countback while Ben Broeders of Belgium settled for bronze with 5.51m.

Obiena is currently No. 19 in the sport in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rankings, owing to his intensive training in Italy under Russian coach Vitaly Petrov.

His best performance last year was 5.51m in an event in Germany.

With his current feat, Obiena has already eclipsed the SEA Games gold medal standard of 5.35m posted by Thailand’s Porranot Purahong in the previous edition in Kuala Lumpur. Purahong’s mark is the current SEA Games record.

Obiena’s performance also surpassed the current Asian Games record of 5.70m held by Japan’s Seito Yamamoto at the 2018 Jakarta edition.

Obiena is upbeat of his chances in the upcoming SEA Games that the country is hosting late November after failing to compete in 2017 due to a training injury.

He is looking forward to competing in the World Championships slated in September in Doha.

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