Without a shadow of doubt, world number two men’s pole vaulter and the Philippines’ flag bearer EJ Obiena electrified Hangzhou and copped the Philippines’ first gold medal in the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games with a games record of 5.9 meters in Saturday’s track and field action.
Obiena, the only Asian to have jumped six meters, easily leapt over the competition by clearing China’s Huang Bokai by 25 decimeters. Saudi Arabia’s Hussain Al-Hizam placed third.
Obiena even seized the chance of entertaining the predominantly Chinese but pro-Obiena crowd by beating the Asian record he set last June but failed to clear 6.02 meters in three attempts to finish his historic campaign.
This was also the first gold medal of the Philippines in track and field since the late Lydia de Vega’s golden sprint in 1986.
Obiena previously finished at seventh place in the 2018 Jakarta games with a measly 5.3 meters.
The Philippines now has one gold, one silver, and six bronze medals to close Day 7 of competition at 18th place in the medal board.
In shooting, marksman Hagen Alexander Topacio missed just one target and topped the first stage of qualification of the men’s trap event.
Aside from his only miss in the first round, Topacio went full Rambo by scoring a perfect 25 in rounds two and three for a total of 74 points.
The second stage of the qualifiers and the finals will be held tomorrow.
In women’s football quarterfinals, the Filipinas scored its first ever goal against a senior Japan national team courtesy of Sarina Bolden in the 68th minute but the defending champions were too much, demolishing the newcomers, 8-1.
Down 3-0 early in the game and only with ten women for 71 minutes, the Filipinas found consolation off their only corner set piece of the match, as Eggesvik corned a perfect inswing from the right for Bolden’s 26th international goal.
However, Nadeshiko captain Mami Ueno scored a haul en route to a semifinal date with host China.
In the 28th minute, the backline-depleted Filipinas suffered a setback as captain Hali Long was booked with a red card following a hard tackle during Japan’s break, forcing the nationals to play with a ten-woman formation for the rest of the match.
The Filipinas played without top defenders Jessica Cowart and Reina Bonta, as well as top strikers Katrina Guillou and Quinley Quezada, due to club recall.
In men’s 3×3 basketball, the Gilas under-23 boys likewise exited in the quarterfinals against South Korea, 16-19.
The inaugural team was composed of FEU standouts Bryan Sajonia and John Rey Pasaol, San Beda big man Bismarck Lina, and Benildean cager Justine Sanchez.
In the fullcourt tournament, ex-NBA veteran Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was too much for Gilas Pilipinas as the Tim Cone-mentored squad absorb their first loss with a 62-87 rout to settle for a quarterfinals playoff against Qatar on Monday.
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