Natalie Uy bucks heat, rust in pole vault title romp

Rio Deluvio

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Natalie Uy bucks heat, rust in pole vault title romp

COMEBACK. Philippine pole vault star Natalie Uy pulls off a winning return.


National record holder Natalie Uy finishes way off her personal best but captures the pole vault gold just the same

ISABELA, Philippines — Natalie Uy claimed the pole vault crown over fellow Filipino-American Alyana Nicolas in the Philippine Athletics Championships on Saturday, March 25, at Ilagan Sports Complex. 

Under the scorching heat and the early morning start, both athletes struggled to perform at their best. 

Uy was way below her personal best and national record of 4.30 meters but ruled just the same with a jump of 3.85m.

Nicolas, similarly feeling the harsh conditions, leapt to 3.70m, and settled for a runner-up finish.

“It feels like I was just completely shaking off the rust,” said Uy of her first competition after a knee injury. 

As the Southeast Asian Games record holder, Uy also has her sights set on redeeming herself at the upcoming regional meet in Cambodia, after failing to reach the podium last year in Vietnam. 

“It’s been such a long time since I competed. So just getting back to that rhythm is just what I really need,” she said. 

Pole vaulter Alyana Nicolas settles for a runner-up finish.

Nicolas, who won the bronze medal in the last SEA Games in Vietnam, was a bit disappointed due to an equipment issue during the competition. 

“There was a little confusion when [Natalie] skipped. It was my mistake for not checking the uprights, but it’s a learning curve I guess,” she said. “So the next time, [I’ll] make sure to check the uprights.”

Both Uy and Nicolas plan to return to the US before representing the Philippines again in the SEA Games this May. 

Uy will return to Atlanta, Georgia and participate in a few domestic competitions to regain her rhythm, while Nicolas will head to San Francisco, California to train and work on her technique.

The 5-foot-5 Nicolas also hopes to participate in a meet in Singapore before the SEA Games. 

In other events, Lauren Hoffman narrowly defeated fellow Fil-Am Robyn Brown, the national record holder in the 400 meter hurdles, by just a fraction of a second at 0.31.

Hoffman clocked 57.56 seconds, while Brown, who tried to close the gap in the final stretch of the race, finished at 57.87s, as both hurdlers fell short of their bid to break the national record of 56.44s.

Melvin Calano, a SEA Games bronze medalist last year, won the javelin throw with a distance of 66.31m. 

Janry Ubas also attempted to break the national long jump record of 7.99m, but ruled with a 7.84m mark. –

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