Janry Ubas, a former Most Valuable Player of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), led the campaign of Team Pilipinas at the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships 2023 held in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The Far Eastern University product delivered a podium finish and set a new Philippine record in the men’s heptathlon, winning the bronze medal with 5,306 points.
Ubas relied on his impressive marks in the jumps, where he recorded 7.66 meters in the long jump, 2.00 meters in the high jump, and 4.70 meters in the pole vault to secure the third-place finish.
Ubas was behind the two Japanese athletes, Yuma Maruyama, the gold medalist and Asian champion, and Keisuke Okuda, who took the silver medal.
The new national indoor record of 7.66 meters in the long jump set by Ubas broke the previous mark of 4,565 points established by 2013 SEA Games decathlon champion Jesson Ramil Cid in the 2014 edition of the Championships in Hangzhou, China.
Ubas demonstrated his outstanding athleticism and skill in the heptathlon, a demanding event that tests an athlete’s versatility in seven disciplines, including 60 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump, 60 meters hurdles, pole vault, and 1000 meters.
Leonard Grospe, a 21-year-old upstart from Mapua University, also impressed in the high jump, breaking the national indoor record twice in the competition.
Grospe first set the record with a 2.14-meter jump during the qualification, surpassing the previous mark of 2.09 set by Tyler Ruiz in Naperville, USA. Grospe then exceeded his own record in the finals, jumping 2.15 meters, which earned him seventh place overall.
John Cabang and Mark Harry Diones also represented the Philippines in the competition but fell short of making it to the finals of the 60 meters and the triple jump, respectively.
Cabang placed 10th overall with a time of 7.96 seconds in the qualifying heats, while Diones recorded a distance of 15.77 meters, also finishing in the 10th spot.
On the other hand, seasoned athletes Sarah Dequinan and Eric Shaun Cray encountered difficulties in their respective events.
Dequinan finished last in ninth place in the women’s pentathlon with 3,530 points, while Cray was forced to withdraw from the 400 meters heats due to a minor groin strain during the race.
Overall, Team Philippines’ performance in the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships 2023 was a mixture of successes and challenges. Ubas and Grospe’s outstanding performances highlighted the team’s potential and bode well for the future of Philippine athletics.
Meanwhile, Cabang and Diones showed promise and will likely continue to improve with more experience and training.
Dequinan and Cray’s difficulties underscore the need for athletes to prioritize their health and safety while competing.