Damaged equipment derails Obiena’s SEA Games preparation

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Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena’s celebratory mood immediately turned into a big disappointment after learning his poles were broken during transit at the Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy.

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Obiena, 21, finished with 5.50 meters behind gold medal winner Bangchao Ding of China (5.65m) and silver medalist Masaki Ejima of Japan (5.65m) in the Asian Athletics Championship last Thursday.

His surpassed the 5.40m finish of his possible Southeast Asian Games rival Patsapong Amsam-Ang of Thailand.

But on Friday, Obiena discovered that his equipment was damaged beyond repair.

This could seriously affect his preparation for the upcoming SEA Games to be held from August 19 to 13.

“I was looking forward to representing my country in the upcoming SEA Games but I’m not sure anymore,” Obiena added. “I am humbly asking for your help. Any amount will be of big help.”

Obiena said the cost of the eight poles and the pole bag is $7,020.

The incident is now under investigation.

JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID

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