Richardson sisters, Obiena open PH athletics team campaign with medals

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 14) – The Philippine athletics team garnered eight medals in the first day of competition in the 31st Southeast Asian Games on Saturday at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam.

EJ Obiena opened the campaign by setting a new SEA Games men’s pole vault record of 5.46 meters to win his second straight gold in the biennial sports event.

RELATED: Obiena bags gold, sets new SEAG pole vault record 

The Philippines actually tallied a 1-2 finish in the men’s pole vault competition after Hokett Delos Santos nabbed the silver medal by clearing 5.00 meters.

In the women’s 200-meter run, sisters Kayla and Kyla Richardson completed a two-medal romp for the Philippines.

Kyla finished with 23.56 seconds to cop the silver medal, while Kayla clocked in 23.87 seconds for the bronze medal finish.

Singaporean sprint queen Shanti Pereira clinched the gold in the women’s 200-meter run with a time of 23.52 seconds.

The Richardson sisters were tasked to compete in the event after reigning champion and national record holder Kristina Knott pulled out a week before the Vietnam SEA Games due to an injury.

Meanwhile, Melvin Calano ceded his title as he settled for a bronze medal in the men’s javelin throw event with a score of 66.86.

Calano, who won the 2019 edition held in Tarlac, trailed behind eventual silver medalist Abd Hafiz of Indonesia (70.58) and gold medalist Van Nguyen Hoai of host country Vietnam (70.87).

Alfrence Barza also clinched a bronze medal in the men’s 1500-meter run after he clocked in three minutes and 56.35 seconds.

The hometown bets Phuoc Luong Duc and Dang Tran Van swept the gold and silver medals, respectively.

2019 SEA Games silver medalist Mariano Masano finished in fifth place out of 13 runners with a time of three minutes and 57.18 seconds.

Joida Gagnao is the last Filipino athletics bet to win a medal on Saturday after she duplicated her bronze medal finish in 2019 in the women’s 5000-meter race, clocking in 17 minutes and 37.74 seconds.

Gagnao finished behind hometown bets Nguyen Oanh Ti (16 minutes and 44.06 seconds) and Hong Le Pham Thi (16 minutes and 45.05 seconds).

The day was capped off with the 4x400 meter mixed relay team of Joime Sequita, Edgardo Alejan, Jessel Lumapas and Bernalyn Bejoy winning a bronze medal.

On Sunday, Team Philippines expects to win a medal in men’s decathlon, men’s long jump, men’s and women’s 400-meter run, men’s shot put, men’s 5000-meter race, and women’s 3000-meter steeplechase run.