Hurdles ace, archers push golden drive
NAYPYITAW—Eric Shauwn Cray easily topped the 400-meter hurdles as promised while the sturdy men’s archery team completed a stunning comeback as the Philippines picked up a couple of gold medals Tuesday at the 27th Southeast Asian Games here.
A day after boldly declaring he’ll rule his event, the 25-year-old Cray nailed a third gold in athletics by clocking a relaxed 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 boosted the Philippine haul to 14 golds that went with 20 silvers and 25 bronzes, but it wasn’t enough to lift them out of seventh place in the overall race being dominated by Thailand with a 64-gold, 55-silver and 54 bronze output.
While victories have come few and far between for the Philippines in this sleepy city in central Burma, the women’s golf team looked poised to contribute two more golds.
The lady parbusters paced Burma by seven strokes in team play while Princess Superal opened up a six-shot lead heading into Wednesday’s final round at Royal Myanmar Golf course.
Jeson Cid also set the pace halfway through the decathlon event.
The vaunted taekwondo and judo teams are also expected to add to the country’s coffers as they kick off their campaigns in the next two days, while Rubilen Amit and Iris Rañola hope to recover from the disappointment of their early exit in 9-ball when they vie in the 10-ball event Thursday.
The Philippines added two more silvers through Mervin Guarte in the men’s 800 meters and rowers Roque Abala and Alvin Amposta in the coxless pairs.
The Olongapo-born Cray relied on a strong run in the final 150 meters to surge past silver medalist Andrian Andrian of Indonesia (51.74) and Vietnam’s Xuan Cuong Dao (51.79) who settled for third.
“I knew I’m going to get the gold because God gave me the ability to win,” said the three-time All-American from University of Oklahoma.
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.
“This win is even more rewarding because of the [wind] conditions,” said Yap, the winner of the 2007 men’s individual compound event. “We didn’t expect them [Malaysia] to shoot a [final-frame] 24, but we knew we needed to step up.”
Abala and Amposta clocked 7:09.5 seconds off an Indonesian pair (7:07.95).
At Zabu Thiri Hotel, GM John Paul Gomez captured his second medal in chess after settling for the bronze in international chess rapid event ruled by GM Nguyen Ngoc Truongson of Vietnam. Gomez took the silver in the rapid 960 Monday night
In equestrian, Diego Eduardo Virata, Andrea Sophia Belofsky and Camila Isabel Lastrilla were eliminated in team play.
Over at Wunna Theikdi’s billiard hall, Carlo Biado kicked off his bid with a 9-6 win over Riyan Setiawan of Indonesia, 9-6, in 10-ball single, joining teammate Dennis Orcollo in the quarterfinals.