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Eric Cray ready to defend crowns

Eric Cray | Philstar.com

KUALA LUMPUR – Daunting as it looks, Filipino-American Eric Shawn Cray will be bracing to defend his men’s 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles titles on the same day on Tuesday in the athletics competition of the 29th Southeast Asian Games at the National Stadium inside the sprawling KL Sports City here.

Cray, a two-time Olympian and record-holder in the century dash, vowed that he will not surrender his crowns despite the very tight schedule in which both events will be played less than an hour apart.

His schedule begins at 3:10 p.m. with the start of the 100-meter heats followed by the 400-meter low hurdle preliminaries at 4 p.m.

Assuming everything goes according to plan, Cray will be on the starting block in the finals of the 400 at 8:20 p.m. and the 100 at 9:40 p.m., respectively.

“I’ll go for both. I’m not gonna hold and go out there to win the gold,” said Cray, who is facing a very good fight in the 100-meter run from a rising Malaysian sprinter.

American athletic consultant Eugene Rohsaan Griffin explained that “going from the longer race to the shorter race is not an issue. The issue is if Cray were to race in the 100 first before the 400 hurdles. That would be an issue.”

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Through national team chef de mission Cynthia Carrion, Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Ella Juico appealed to the Malaysian SEA Games organizers as early as June regarding the schedule of both events on the same day.

In the original schedule, the gap between the prelims of both events was merely 30 minutes and the finals of 400 hurdles and 100-meter in succession only had a 20-minute gap separating them.

“We strongly believe that this schedule, with all due respect, is inimical to the optimum performance and safety of the athletes who will see action in both events,” Juico wrote. 

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