MANILA, Philippines — On a clear Saturday, Team Philippines celebrated with its biggest single-day gold haul in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, two outstanding records fell by the wayside to give way to two new SEA Games benchmarks.
Already way ahead of the pack with a treasure chest of golds, the Philippines picked 17 more to further widen the gap in the race for overall supremacy, none bigger than the record-shattering feats by pole vaulter EJ Obiena and Fil-American sprinter Kristine Knott.
The Tokyo Olympics-bound Obiena leaped to a new SEAG record of 5.45 meters in his first SEAG stint.
That leap obliterated the 5.35 mark set by Porranot Purahong of Thailand two years ago in Kuala Lumpur.
Purahong was actually there to challenge Obiena, but fell way short, as he only managed a leap of 5.20m, still good for the silver.
On the track, Fil-American Kristina Knott also debuted in style, setting a new SEAG and Philippine record in the 200-m by completing the race in 23.01 seconds.
During the preliminaries, Knott had already reset both marks with a clocking of 23.07 seconds, which, in turn, broke the 23.16 record of Fil-Canadian Zion Corrales-Nelson established in Sacramento, California in April 2019.
Based on Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) records, it was Nelson who broke the 33-year record of former Asian sprint queen Lydia de Vega, who posted 23.35 seconds in a California meet back in 1986.
Nelson was also the first to better the existing SEA Games mark of 23.30 established by Thailand’s Supavadee Kawpeag in 2001.
By posting a new SEAG mark, Knott also improved by more than a second her personal best of 24.42, which she recorded in a 2019 SEA Games athletics test event held in October.
With the 200-m gold already on the bag, expect Knott to contend for more gold medals in her next events, especially in the much-awaited century dash.
Obiena, meanwhile, will finally get to rest his aching body and prime himself up for his biggest challenge in the Tokyo Olympics. (LO/AMIGO/CNS)