SEA Games: Cray poised to rule track as Jirapong fades badly

SEA Games: Cray poised to rule track as Jirapong fades badly
Eric Shauwn Cray

Hurdles, sprints, you name it, he can do it.

Eric Shauwn Cray is fast building a reputation as the king of track in South-east Asia after retaining his 400m hurdles title in a Games record of 49.40sec at the National Stadium yesterday.

A day earlier, the versatile 26-year-old Filipino had blitzed the field to capture the 100m in a personal best time of 10.25.

 

With two more events to go, the men's 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay, Cray is raring to go.

"I feel really great, it is a good time," Cray, who has his sights set on the World Championships in August, said.

He remained confident despite a small flap breaking out over the Filipino contingent's racing outfits, which featured an inverted Filipino flag.

The issue was dismissed as a "supplier problem" by a team official.

While Cray's star appears to be in its ascendancy, the same cannot be said for Thailand's Jirapong Meenapra, who won the sprint double at the last edition in 2013.

The Thai not only failed to retain both his 100m and 200m titles, but he did not even manage to get on the podium in the former, finishing the race a shocking fifth.

In yesterday's 200m, his time of 21.13sec was good enough only for bronze. He finished behind team-mate Jaran Sathoengram (21.05) and Vietnam's Le Trong Hinh (20.89).

His last shot at glory will not come in the individual events but in the 4x100m relay.

Le, who finished third in 2013 in 21.47sec, said: "The short-distance sprinting requires strength and a boost in power to attain the speed.

"I am very happy with my timing and my medal is a great improvement from my previous 100m event."

Le's gold was one of four that Vietnam won yesterday out of the 12 on offer. Those wins powered them to the top of the sport's medal tally with seven golds, just three shy of their total of 10 in 2013.

Thailand, who dominated the field at the last Games by claiming 17 of the 47 golds, have won only three so far, with two days of competition left.

Cray's Philippines are third with four golds. They had six the last time out.

chongcjy@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 11, 2015.
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