After missing Tokyo Olympics, Eric Cray sets sights on Paris | Inquirer Sports

After missing Tokyo Olympics, Eric Cray sets sights on Paris

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 04:10 AM July 12, 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

FILE–Eric Cray. 

Eric Cray patiently waited long enough for the Olympic qualification season to open its doors after missing a second consecutive trip to the Olympics in 2021 Tokyo.

The 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympian and Southeast Asia’s top draw in the men’s 400-meter hurdles will earn the opportunity in the 24th Asian Athletics Championships scheduled to kick off on Wednesday at the Supachalasai National Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.


“I’m feeling great, ready for the Asian champs. This is one of those chances I shouldn’t miss,’’ said Cray, who was compelled to skip crucial qualifying races to Tokyo three years ago due to the global pandemic restrictions while he was training in Europe.


The 34-year-old Filipino-American has a strong chance of joining early Paris qualifier EJ Obiena of pole vault by running at least 48.70 seconds in the preliminaries on Thursday or in the finals on Friday.

“I’m cool about returning to the Olympics. The perseverance that I have, the drive and dedication for two years and the ups and downs, it’s hard,’’ said Cray, the six-time SEA (Southeast Asian) Games 400-m champion who holds the existing games standard of 49.40 seconds.

“But God is on my side the whole way, so I’m happy to keep going,’’ added the Texas-based hurdler who also suffered from injuries during the Tokyo qualifiers.

Cray will join 22 other national tracksters in Bangkok for the five-day track and field spectacle where the finest track and field athletes across the continent will converge.

Aside from Cray, Obiena and SEA Games long jump gold medalist Janry Ubas, throwers Willie Morrison (shot put), Gennah Malapit (javelin), sprinter Kristina Knott (100 m), 110-m hurdlers Clinton Bautista and John Cabang Tolentino and 800-m specialists Bernalyn Bejoy and Robyn Brown will likewise see action.

World Athletics has set specific clockings and measurements for athletes to gain access to next year’s games in the French capital and offered several international meets to accommodate them after the Olympic qualifying window opened on July 1.

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