PH Cray begins hunt for gold

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Filipino-American Eric Shauwn Cray guns for two gold medals when the medal-rich athletics competition of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games unfolds today at the 87,000-seater Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Cray, a two-time Olympian; will be defending his crown in the men’s 100m dash and 400m hurdles.

The 28-year old Asian Championship gold medalist begins his campaign in the 100m dash preliminary round at 3:30 p.m. along with three-time National Collegiate Athletic Association sprint champion Anfernee Lopena.

Eric Cray of the Philippines crosses the finish line in the men’s 100m finals at the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore on June 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO

“We believe in the ability of Eric Cray of performing well despite his tight schedule. We pray that he can rise up to the challenge and complete a golden double for our country,” said Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico.

Cray will then take part in the men’s 400-meter hurdle heats at 4 p.m.

The men’s 400m finals fires off at 8:20 p.m. while the 100m-dash championship round is at 9:40 p.m.

Also expecting to deliver medal is Filipino-American Zion Rose Nelson who will be seeing action in the women’s 100m event preliminaries at 3:10 p.m.

Nelson will carry the fight for the Philippines in the century dash after defending champion Kayla Richardson opted to focus on other events.

Richardson shoots for medal in the women’s 200m race on Wednesday and the 4×100 and 4×400-meter relays.

The other Filipino tracksters competing today are Aries Toledo in men’s decathlon, Singapore SEA Games bronze medalist Rosie Villarito and Evalyn Palabrica in women’s javelin throw.

So far, the athletics team has one gold courtesy of Mary Joy Tabal in the women’s marathon.

They are aiming to surpass the five-gold, seven-silver, nine-bronze medal they’ve won in the in 2015 Singapore Games.

The team suffered a major setback after gold medal hopeful Ernest John Obiena suffered an ACL injury a few days before the Malaysia Games.

Obiena has a personal best of 5.61 meters – a sure gold in men’s pole vault.

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