Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

EJ Obiena has but
so as to add an Asian Video games gold to his trophy
assortment. —AFP

And so it begins.

EJ Obiena, a first-rate candidate for a gold medal within the pole vault competitors, kicks off his nationwide group duties by sharing the flag-bearing process for the Philippine delegation with Margielyn Didal in Saturday’s opening ceremonies of the nineteenth Asian Video games (Asiad) on the cavernous Hangzhou Olympic Centre Stadium right here in Hangzhou, China.

“Many individuals [pat] me on the again for being Asia’s primary observe and discipline athlete. I view this in a different way,’’ stated Obiena, one of many spearheads of the 396-athlete Philippine contingent and the general No. 1 athletics guess throughout all disciplines.

Obiena topped the Asian athletics rankings with 1443 factors with javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra of India (1429) and Japanese 110m hurdler Shunsuke Izumiya (1417) lurking intently behind.

Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim (excessive bounce) positioned fourth general with 1403 factors and Japanese Masatora Kawano (35km stroll) wound up fifth (1383).

“It’s an enormous sense of honor and duty. In my occupation, I’m a visual image of one of the best from the superb continent of Asia,’’ stated the 27-year-old Obiena, the Asian champion and document holder of six meters in his occasion.

Based mostly in Italy below the tutelage of famend Ukranian coach Vitaly Petrov, Obiena not too long ago positioned second within the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, behind world document holder Armand “Mondo’’ Duplantis of Sweden.

One other silver end on the Diamond League finals final week once more received by Duplantis in Oregon, United States pushed Obiena to the No. 2 spot on this planet rankings behind the Swede.

“I have to not let Asia down. I have to go into these worldwide competitions and showcase the expertise and functionality of us all. I have to additionally conduct myself with honor and dignity and by no means tarnish the greatness of Asia,’’ stated Obiena.


After defending his Asian championships title two months in the past in Bangkok, Thailand, Obiena is seeking to shut out his season with a gold medal within the Asiad, the one continental title missing in his trophy room after inserting outdoors of the medal rankings in 2018 in Indonesia.

“Another to go. I must personal this and perceive that I’ve a goal on my again. The strain is build up however that’s a privilege. I’ve to be dedicated in each bounce,’’ stated Obiena, the primary and thus far the one Filipino qualifier in subsequent 12 months’s Paris Olympics.

Competitors has already began in a number of different disciplines with rower Joanie Delgaco ending second in her semifinal warmth on Friday to advance into the medal race of the ladies’s single sculls at Fuyang Water Sports activities Heart.

Delgaco, a 2019 Southeast Asian Video games gold medalist, reached the road in eight minutes and 18.30 seconds behind Japanese Shiho Yonekawa’s 8:06.32 clocking over the two,000-meter distance.

The nationwide rowers, nevertheless, misplaced one medal hope after Tokyo Olympian Cris Nievarez completed fourth in his semifinal warmth within the males’s single sculls with a time of seven:25.65—crashing out of the medal race.

Nievarez checked in three seconds slower than third-placer Balraj Panwar of India (7:22.22) within the race topped by China’s Liang Zhang (7:12.77) and Kazakhstan’s Vladislav Yakovlev (7:19.27).

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Solely the highest three finishers in every of the 2 semifinal heats progressed to the finals scheduled for Monday. INQ

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