Filipino-American pole vaulter Natalie Uy shattered the Philippine record, settling for a sixth-place finish at the Acadia Invitational in Greenville, North Carolina.
Uy recorded the previous record of 4.25 meters, which earned her a gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. This time, she cleared 4.30 meters at the UCS Pink Panther Pit to set another record for the country.
It was a massive boost for the 25-year-old Uy, who needs to clear the Olympic standard of 4.70 meters to earn her ticket to the rescheduled 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Former Olympics silver medalist Sandi Morrison organized the event in her own backyard amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Uy and Morrison were joined by American stars Katie Nageotte and Olivia Gruver in the nine-woman field.
And it was a welcome development for Uy, who has been raring to shake off rust since the pandemic started.
“It’s a brand-new venue. They were spraying it with alcohol after every single one [of us], and we had separate tents, and we had to wear masks and all the audience were separated,” said Uy in Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ So She Did! presented by SMART last Sunday.
“It was really interesting, but it was also fun because everyone’s been in the same boat, as we’ve all just been trying to shake off the rust and get into competition mode so yeah.”
Despite the pandemic bringing the entire sporting world to a halt, the SEA Games gold medalist remains committed to her goal — to qualify for the Olympics and represent the Philippines.
“I think that fuel that I cannot see how far I can go. I’ve set my goal. If I don’t give my all, I’d be so angry with myself for like, kind of giving up,” said Uy.
“And this inner desire to see what I can do, how far I can go in the sports. All the challenges are just another kind of bump in the road. You just have to keep going.”