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SEA Games: EJ Obiena leads charge of PH athletics team Saturday


Ernest John Obiena from the Philippines crosses the crossbar during the men's pole vault athletics at the SEA Games (Southeast Asian Games) at the track and field stadium in Clark City, Capas, Tarlac Province, north of Manila on Jan. December 7, 2019.

Ernest John Obiena from the Philippines crosses the crossbar during the men’s pole vault athletics at the SEA Games (Southeast Asian Games) at the track and field stadium in Clark City, Capas, Tarlac Province, north of Manila on Jan. December 7, 2019. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)

HANOI – The fully-equipped and well-equipped Philippine track and field team will start their race for glory on Saturday, led by Asia’s top track and field athlete Ernest John Obiena and athletes Kayla and Kyla Richardson at the 31st Southeast Asian Games at My Dinh National Stadium coming here.

The Filipinos are expected to compete for gold on Saturday in the pole vault and javelin throw, where Obiena and Melvin Calano are the defending champions, respectively; 200 meters, where Richardsons got on the field to replace the injured Olympic athlete Kristina Knott; and possibly intermediate relays as well.

“The chances of the whole Philippines team are good, the prospects are good, the feeling of the whole team is very positive,” said athletics coach and spokesman Joeffrey Chua. “That’s because we prepare, we started our preparation last October without stopping. October, November then we finished our first competition last December in Baguio. ”

“Then we had an international meeting last month in Singapore, so the whole year played well just to prepare for the SEA Games, so their movements were sharp and their skills on all expectations,” added Chua.

Leading the team was Obiena, who clearly outperformed the rest in the arch competition here, after a 5.45 meter leap during the Philippine SEA Games 2019. Since that gold medal feat, Obiena has really improved by leaps and bounds with individual best out of 5.91, reached during the Meeting de Paris at Stade Charlety, Paris on August 28 of last year.

But the 26-year-old athlete is not one to be complacent.

“Everybody is going to be in the same situation, we’re all dancing with the wind, so it’s all the same. Just here to do his job, try to win that medal. Let’s bring it home and hopefully bring some glory to the country,” said Obiena.

“It took me a lot of time (preparation), but I am ready to give it my all. The Thai boys are preparing and competing too, they are ready. This is the biggest competition for them this season. We will see what I can do,” Obiena added.

Even his father/coach Emerson agrees.

“Those from Thailand also won bronze at the Asian Games, the competition will be good,” said elder Obiena. Patsapong Amsam-Angbronze medalist at the 2018 Asian Games Jakarta, who upset Obiena by taking the podium.

Meanwhile, Kyla Richardson is tipped to take gold after completing her three events, in the 100 metres, 200 metres, and relay runs of the recent PacWest 2022 Athletics Championships at Point University. Loma Nazarene in San Diego, California. .

Her chances were very good when Vietnam’s top sprinter Le Tu Chinh had to miss the competition with a foot injury, a similar condition that prevented Knott from participating.

Richardson is joining her sisters Kayla Richardson, Robyn Brown and Eloisa Luzon in the women’s 4×100 meter relay.

Four of them won silver medals in 2019, following Thailand.

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