Double golds for Philippines as Cray, Richardson top 100-m runs
MANILA, Philippines - Eric Cray’s personal best finish in the men’s 100-meter competition and Kayla Richardson’s impressive showing in the women’s 100-meter run resulted to two more gold medals for the Philippines in the 28th Southeast Asian games at the National Stadium in Singapore on Tuesday, June 9.
Cray, a 26-year-old 3-time All-American born in Olangapo, finished with a result of 10.25 seconds - a comfortable margin over Indonesia’s Yaspi Boby and Iswandi Iswandi who both had 10.45 second-finishes and placed second and third, respectively.
It was another addition to Cray’s achievements, which already include being the first Filipino to reach the 400-meter hurdles finals at the Asian Games since 1982 and ending a 28-year gold drought in the 400-meter hurdles at the SEA Games in Myanmar.
"I just tried to get out as good as possible...I don't think I had the best start. But I am just happy with the win," Cray said after the race.
The Filipino-American became the first Philippine athlete to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics in May, meeting the qualifying mark of 49.40 sec for the men's 400 meters hurdles at the Cayman Invitational Athletics.
The 17-year-old Richardson, a resident of Walnut, California whose mother hails from Zamboanga, tied with Thailand’s Tassaporn Wannakit with 11.76 second finishes but came away with first place due to a superior reaction time of 0.216 to 0.174.
Pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena Obiena finished second in a new Philippine mark of 5.25 meters to Purahong Pooranot, who won in 5.30. Obiena fell away after the bar was raised by five centimeters to 5.30 meters.
Harry Diones, the NCAA MVP from Jose Rizal University, finished a bronze medal by five centimeters in the triple jump. He jumped 15.87 meters.
The Philippines is set to win at least 14 gold medals and at least eight golds will becoming from the Fil-Am athletes. Cray is the favorite to take the 400 meter hurdles and lead the 4x400 meter relay team, Richardson or Princess Joy Griffey the 200 meters, Stuart the discus throw and Donovont Arriola, the men's long jump.
Marestella Torres is aiming to reclaim the long jump, while defending champion Archand Christian Bagsit or Eduardo Alejan are eyeing the 400 meters, Christopher Ulboc is seeking title no.2 in the 3,000 meter steeplechase just like Jesson Cid in the decathlon.
- with reports from Ignacio Dee/Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com