MANILA – World's No. 2 pole vaulter Ernest John "EJ" Obiena topped the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s list of achievers for August and September.
The 27-year-old pole vault star registered 6.0 meters at the World Athletics Championships from August 19 to 27 in Budapest, Hungary where he finished second to world champion Arman Duplantis (6.10m).
Earlier that month, a team from Bago City in Negros Occidental won the 12-14 age bracket title at the Little League Softball World Series crown in Washington, ending the country's 20-year drought in the tournament.
In tennis, 18-year-old Alex Eala defeated Australian Arina Rodionova, 6-2, 6-3, at the USD25,000 ITF event in Roehampton, Great Britain to claim her fourth pro title.
The 5-foot-9 graduate of the Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca (Spain) also reached a career-high No. 192 in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) singles rankings after making it to the final of the USD25,000 ITF event in Aldershot, Great Britain.
In taekwondo, Olympian Kirstie Elaine Alora defeated local Jung Sugee, 2-0, to win the gold medal in the women's 73kg class at the Korea Open International Championships in Chuncheon.
Also victorious were poomsae Ian Matthew Corton, the freestyle mixed team, and freestyle pair of Darius Venerable and Stella Nicole Yape. In wrestling, Fierre Afan topped the U-20 71kg competition at the United World Wrestling Grappling Championships in Warsaw, Poland.
September saw Obiena hugging the limelight once again, this time for delivering the country's first gold medal at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Eala came up with a bronze in the singles event, ending a 61-year medal drought for the Philippines. She also got a bronze in the mixed doubles with Francis Casey Alcantara.
The other medalists in Hangzhou Asian Games were wushu silver medalist Arnel Andal (men’s 56kg) and bronze medalists Patrick King Perez (taekwondo poomsae men’s individual), Clemente Tabugara Jr. (wushu sanda men’s 65kg), Gideon Padua (wushu sanda men’s 60kg), and Jones Inso (wushu men’s taijijian).
In obstacle course racing, Kevin Pascua topped the men's 110m event while Precious Cabuya and Kaizen dela Serna finished second and third, respectively, at the World Championship in Genk, Belgium.
At the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas defeated China in the classification stage to finish 24th overall and clinch a spot to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The country's hosting of the World Cup was highlighted by a new record crowd of 38,115 set on opening night during the Philippines-Dominican Republic game at the Philippine Arena. (PNA)