Fil-Am Eric Shauwn Cray delivers needed gold for PH in hurdles competition
Naypyitaw, Myanmar—Eric Shauwn Cray made good on his promise, while the sturdy men’s archery team completed a stunning comeback as the Philippines added a couple of gold medals yesterday to its sputtering 27th Southeast Asian Games campaign here.
A day after boldly declaring he’ll rule his event, the 25-year-old Cray combined pace with power as he stormed to the gold medal in the men’s 400m hurdles by clocking 51.29 seconds at Wunna Theikdi Stadium.
Over at the nearby archery range inside the sprawling complex, Earl Benjamin Yap, Delfin Adriano and rookie Ian Chipeco showed nerves of steel in retaining the men’s team compound title at the expense of Malaysia.
The twin victories hiked the Philippines haul to 14 golds that went with 20 silvers and 24 bronzes, but it wasn’t enough to lift them out of seventh place in the overall race dominated by Thailand with a 64-gold, 55-silver and 54 bronze haul.
The Olongapo-born Cray relied on a strong final 150m to surge ahead of silver medalist Indonesia’s Andrian Andrian (51.74) and Vietnam’s Xuan Cuong Dao (51.79), who settled for third spot.
“I knew I’m going to get the gold because God gave me the ability to win,” said the three-time All-American from the University of Oklahoma, who was born to a Filipino mother.
Counting the victories of Henry Dagmil in long jump and Archen Bagsit in the men’s 400m, athletics has now contributed three gold medals to the country’s campaign.
Trailing by three heading into the last three arrows, Yap, Adriano and Chipeco responded to the challenge by firing perfect 10s that boosted them to a 221-218 victory over the Malaysians, who managed just a 24 on their final turn.
It was a tough afternoon for the Filipino trio, who struggled to adjust with the crosswinds that swept the range. They recovered their form just in time.
“This win is even more rewarding because of the conditions,” said Yap, the winner of the 2007 men’s individual compound event. “We didn’t expect them (Malaysia) to shoot a 24, but we knew we needed to step up.” /inquirer
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