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PH tracksters out to end three-decade medal drought in Asian Games

Filipino Olympian pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena is the country's best bet to break a podium curse in the upcoming Asian Games, according to national coaches Isidro del Prado and Dario De Rosas.


The 27-year-old, who had won medals in several events this track season, including a silver medal in the World Athletics Championships in Hungary, is currently the world number two in pole vaulting, and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) is pinning their hopes on him.

“EJ is our best hope for gold in the pole vault,” Del Prado said in Filipino during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Tuesday.

No Filipino track and field athlete has won any medal at the Asian Games since long jumper Elma Muros' bronze medal at the 1994 edition in Hiroshima, Japan.

“We are ready for the Asiad. We hope to clinch a medal,” De Rosas, coach of long jumper Janry Ubas, triple jumper Ronnie Malipay and heptathlete Sarah Dequinan, said. “Hopefully, [Ubas] can get it again [in the long jump], we hope to get a bronze medal.”

The quartet of Umajesty Williams, Frederick Ramirez, Joyme Squita, and Michael Carlo Del Prado, who is also Isidro's son, are expected to run in the Asiad in the 4×400 meter relay.

“India, Japan, China, and Sri Lanka are strong in the 4×400 meter event, so I told them to give their best to break the Philippine record of 3:06.47,” del Prado said. “Hopefully we make the finals.”

The Filipino quartet had won gold in the recent Southeast Asian Games, held in Cambodia.

Other members of the Philippine delegation included hurdlers Robyn Brown, Eric Cray and John Tolentino, sprinter Kristina Knott, and shot putter William Morrison.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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