by Kristel Satumbaga
Fil-American pole vaulter Natalie Uy showed her readiness for the Southeast Asian Games by bagging the bronze medal in record-breaking fashion at the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.
The 24-year-old Uy whose father hails from Cebu, cleared the 4.20-meter barrier to finish third behind eventual champion Ling Li and Xu Huiqin – both from China.
Ling, also the Asian Games champion, hurdled the 4.61m barrier with relatively ease to capture the gold while Xu had 4.36m.
Uy’s effort shattered her own national mark of 4.12 meters which she registered during the National Open in Ilagan, Isabela last March.
Though her effort fell short of her national mark of 4.30m, she nonetheless bettered the SEAG mark of 4.10m which Thai Chayanisa Chomchuendee established last year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
She posted her national mark in a tournament in Castellon, Spain last year .
Uy’s feat came a few days after fellow pole vaulter EJ Obiena shattered the 26-year-old tournament record in the men’s side.
He posted 5.71m to capture the gold medal and eclipse the 5.70m mark of Kazakhstan’s Grigoriy Yegorov at the 1993 edition held in Manila.
He bested reigning champion Zhang Wei and 2016 Asian Indoor winner Huang Bokei, who settled for the silver and bronze medals with identical 5.66m marks.
Obiena’s performance was actually better than the 5.70m Asian Games record of Japanese Seito Yamamoto in 2018 and a far cry from the SEA Games mark of Thai champion Porranot Purahong, who registered 5.35m at the 2017 Malaysian edition.
Obiena also eclipsed his own national record of 5.61m he posted at the Stabhochsprung Classic in Leverkusen, Germany in 2017.