Minor hurdle for Cray in Olympic bid; hand injury slows pole vaulter Uy
The last hurdle Eric Cray has to clear for a ticket to Tokyo is about eight-hundredths of a second. For Natalie Uy, however, there is cause for concern.
Six-time Southeast Asian (SEA) Games champion and Asian titlist Cray touched base with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) to say his chances of making a second Olympic performance are good.
The Texas-based Cray told Patafa president Philip Ella Juico that his target is to make the finals of the men’s 400-meters, “and from thereon, anything can happen.”
Born in Olongapo, Cray holds the SEA Games record of 48.98 seconds. He would need to breach 48.90 seconds, which is the Tokyo qualifying time for his event.
He has at least 15 tournaments to meet the criteria before the cutoff on June 29.
Juico said Cray’s outdoor schedule includes the PVAMU Relays hosted by the Prairie View A&M university in Grand Prairie, Texas. Then he will compete in the Texas Relays.
But the Filipino hurdler is likely to accomplish his goal in the Florida Relays in Gainesville.
Uy, the reigning SEA Games champ in women’s pole vault, is just recovering from a hand injury after a pole broke on her last September during practice. Patafa said she underwent surgery and is only now returning to training.
But Patafa is not losing hope on Uy, who was given the green light to train last Dec. 30.
So far, only Asian and SEA Games champion pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena is assured of a ticket to Tokyo for Philippine athletics, which is hoping to qualify at least four bets to the Summer Games.
Sprinter Kristina Knott is targeting slots in the 100 and 200 meters, while shot putter William Morrison is also vying for a berth.
Knott is very close to making the required times in 100-meter (11.15 seconds) and 200m (22.8 seconds). She’s running 11.27 and 23.01 in both events.