Pole vaulter notches lone gold for PH in SEA Youth Athletics
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines – A 17-year-old pole vaulter from Pasig saved the day for the Philippine team as he notched the country's first and lone gold during the last day of the 12th Southeast Asian Youth Athletics Championships in Ilagan City in Isabela province.
Francis Edward Obiena, a Grade 11 student of Chiang Kai Shek College, edged out his Singaporean counterpart, clearing 4.35 meters in the pole vault competition.
Obiena failed to beat the 4.50 meters record posted by Indonesian Richsan Idan Fauson during the 11th SEA Youth Athletics in Thailand in 2016, but he said he's still proud to have brought gold medal of the Philippines.
"My goal was to beat the 4.50 record of Indonesia last year, but I am still thankful because I brought home gold medal for the Philippines. This is an honor," Obiena said in Filipino on Tuesday, March 28.
Before competing, Philippine athletic officials had high hopes that Obiena would help the country avoid a gold medal shutout.
In a Facebook post, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) congratulated Obiena: "Way to go Francis! We are proud of you!"
As young athlete, Obiena had already competed various competitions, including Palarong Pambansa, the Philippines' top athletic meet for elementary and secondary students.
He set a new record in pole vault category during the 2016 Palaro in Albay province, setting a 5.06-meter record.
As of 10 am on Tuesday, Vietnam led the partial tally of medals with 12 golds. – Rappler.com