Filipino-American pole vaulter Natalie Uy remains on target for a ticket to the rescheduled 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
The 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist cleared the 4.30-meter mark and settled for sixth place at the Acadia Invitational in Greenville, South Carolina Friday (Saturday, Manila time).
Uy joined nine other pole vaulters at the UCS Spirit “Pink Panther” Pit including American Olympian Sandi Morris, two-time US indoor champion Katie Nageotte and two-time outdoor NCAA champion Olivia Gruver.
The facility was built by Sandi and her father Harry during spring amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Uy’s recent feat topped the Philippine-record and regional mark of 4.25 meters which she registered during the 30th SEA Games last year at New Clark City Athletics Stadium in Capas, Tarlac.
The 25-year-old Uy also tied her personal best which she achieved in Castellon, Spain last 2018, when she has yet to represent the Philippines.
“It was amazing. It was so great just to be around the girls [and] to just have the energy again,” Uy told ESPN in a livestream interview.
“Obviously with the quarantine and everything, it’s been really tough to self-motivate by yourself working out. So just being around all the girls with the crowd, it’s been absolutely incredible.”
Morris ruled the event after clearing the 4.81-meter mark on her first attempt. Nageotte followed suit in second place with the same mark on her third try.
Megan Clark cleared the 4.50 mark while Leah Pasqualleti and Gruver tied at fourth place with 4.30 meters.
Uy, who sits at 74th place in the world rankings, needs to clear the Olympic standard of 4.70 meters to barge into the Tokyo Games.
“Definitely attainable,” she said.
So far, fellow pole vaulter EJ Obiena, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno have made the Olympic grade.
Tracksters Eric Cray and Kristina Knott and shot putter William Morrison have set sights for Tokyo berths as well.