Filipino-American Eric Cray won the country’s lone gold medal in the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar, India, topping the 400-meter hurdles over the weekend.
Cray crossed the finished line with the time of 49.75 seconds to edge Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chieh (49.75) and India’s MP Jabir (50.22).
“I am very happy to win and bring pride to our country. This is a good preparation for me for the coming Southeast Asian Games,” said Cray in an interview on Monday.
Cray’s feat ended the country’s eight-year gold medal drought in the competition. The last time the country won a gold in the Asian Athletics Championship was in 2009 when Marestella Torres-Sunang ruled the women’s long jump event in Guangzhou, China.
Mark Harry Diones, meanwhile, came home with silver medal with an output of 16.45 meters in the men’s triple jump event. Chinese Zhu Yaming won with 16.82-m while his compatriot Xu Xiaolong took the bronze with 16.45 meters.
Pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena delivered the other medal for the Philippine team, a bronze for his 5.50 meters finish behind gold medal winner Bangchao Ding of China (5.65 meters) and silver medalist Masaki Ejima of Japan (5.65).
The Asian Athletics Championship was the PH team’s major build up toward the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia next month.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID