SEA Games 2023: Eric Cray shows no signs of slowing down | Inquirer Sports

SEA Games 2023: Eric Cray shows no signs of slowing down

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 10:10 PM May 11, 2023

Eric Cray won his gold medal in 400 men hurdles, his six seagame gold medal in the same category held at Morodok Techno National Stadium

Eric Cray won his gold medal in 400 men’s hurdles, his sixth SEA Games gold medal in the same category held at Morodok Techno National Stadium. SEA GAMES POOL PHOTO

PHNOM PENH—Hurdler Eric Cray has re-established his dominance in the region after stretching his reign at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games on Thursday.

It’s about time for the six-time men’s 400m hurdles champion to advance far beyond the borders of his monarchy.


“I’m feeling great, ready for the Asian champs and the Asian Games,” said Cray after striking gold in his favorite event for the sixth consecutive time without any opposition close enough to pry his crown loose.


The 34-year-old Filipino-American sprinted over the last hundred meters and zoomed ahead of the pack in 50.03 seconds, just a split second slower than his existing SEA Games record of 49.90 done in 2015 Singapore that still stands to this day.

Cray has to chop a few more precious seconds off that clocking for a return trip to the Olympics next year in Paris where the qualifying time is 48.70 seconds.

He should make the cut in the Asian Athletics Championships in Thailand on July 12-16, the first window of qualification in the continent for the Olympics.

“I hope to be 100 percent before the Asian champs where the window will open up. That’s the goal,” said Cray, who missed the 2021 Tokyo Olympics due to injuries and the restrictions that COVID-19 imposed on him while training in Europe.

The former Asian champion was forced to skip the Asian Indoor Athletics Championship in Kazakhstan early this year after suffering from sports hernia, a painful soft tissue injury in the groin area.

“I caught it before the Asian indoor where I wasn’t able to compete. I have been dealing with the pain ever since, but it’s bearable,” said Cray, who won eight gold medals in the SEA Games since 2013 in Myanmar, including the 100m (2015) and the 4x100m relay (2019).


Natthaphon checked in after Cray in 50.073 seconds followed by Singapore’s Calvin Quek, who pocketed the bronze medal in 50.75.

“You know the perseverance that I have, the drive and dedication for two years and the ups and downs. It’s hard, but God is on my side the whole way. I’m so happy to keep going,” said Cray.

He rewarded the Philippine track and field team with a third gold medal after EJ Obiena’s three-peat in men’s pole vault and the victory of Janry Ubas in long jump.

Aside from the Asian championships, Cray will have another crack at an Olympic spot in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China this September.

“I’m cool about returning to the Olympics, but I have to be in great shape during the qualifiers,” said the Texas-based Cray.

While a trip to Paris is the ultimate objective for Cray, defending the 400m hurdle crown for the seventh consecutive time in Thailand 2025 remains up in the air.

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“If God keeps you running fast enough to compete, who knows maybe seven,’’ said Cray.


Eric Cray rules 400m hurdles for sixth straight SEA Games gold medal for PH

Team Philippines collects four gold medals; Cray rules 400m hurdles anew

TAGS: Eric Cray, SEA Games 2023

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