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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – EJ Obiena is coming to the aid of aspiring Filipino pole vaulters after capturing a third straight Southeast Asian Games gold medal.
Obiena bared he plans to auction the customized Puma spikes he wore when he defended his SEA Games men’s pole vault throne in record-breaking fashion at the Morodok Techo National Stadium here on Monday, May 8.
Brushing aside heavy rains and an hour-long delay, the 27-year-old set a new SEA Games record with a clearance of 5.65m, which eclipsed his former mark of 5.46m he tallied in Vietnam last year.
“Hopefully, it will raise enough funds to buy some [pole vault] pit for a province in the Philippines,” Obiena told Filipino reporters.
“We need more pole vaulters in the Philippines.”
The Asian record holder said he watched a video of a kid from Tuguegarao who pursues pole vault without a landing pit and decided to take action.
“All money, all proceeds will go to buying a new pole vault pit or second-hand pole vault pit somewhere in the province,” said Obiena.
“I wish I had a lot of money. I would have just bought one,” he added with a smile. “Hopefully, we raise something for them. If not, we get some kind of pit. If we can’t get an actual size, we’ll get something.”
Starting the outdoor season with a memorable SEA Games campaign, Obiena returns to the European circuit as he competes in the Irena Szewińska Memorial in Bydgoszcz, Poland on June 6. – Rappler.com