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Eric Cray ranks 7th at the world stage with new Philippine Record

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Going into the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, defending 400m hurdles champion Eric Cray has solidified his top seed position as he now ranks 7th in the world stage, setting a new Personal Best (PB) and Philippine Record in the process.

In the world rankings, the leader so far for 2015 is 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Bershawn Jackson, who also holds four of the fastest times this year so far. Ranking 17th is 2012 London Olympics silver medalist Michael Tinsley.

Cray, who is also the Philippine record holder for the 100m dash and 110m hurdles, clocked 49.12 seconds in the 400m hurdles last May 16, yet again improving his quarter-mile hurdling capabilities.

In 2012, Cray’s PB was 50.46 seconds, which amounts to shaving off 1.34 seconds in three years.

A year later, he ran an easy 51.29 second finals in the 2013 SEA Games to win the gold medal. Another year later, he raced fast in the 2014 Asian Games heats clocking 50.00 seconds, but faded away in the finals with 51.47 seconds. However, had he run 49.12 seconds last year, he would’ve won the gold by 0.59 seconds.
This performance is also well above the SEA Games record of Thailand’s Chanon Keanchan, who clocked 49.76 back in 1995.

Eric Cray from the 2014 Singapore Open (c/o: sporeathletics)

Eric Cray from the 2014 Singapore Open (c/o: sporeathletics)

With this performance, Cray officially qualifies for the 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Athletics this August and also for the prestigious 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janeiro.

Clocking 49.12 seconds goes well above the qualifying standards of the IAAF World Championships which is 49.50 seconds and also the qualifying standards of the 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janeiro which is 49.40 seconds.

However, according to the results of the 2012 Olympics at London, Cray’s PB will only be enough to qualify him for the semifinals. Moreover, 49.12 seconds is still far from Saudi Arabia’s Hadi Soua’an Al-Somaily’s Asian Record of 47.53 seconds, a record set in the 2000 Olympics at Sydney.

Cray has a long way to go, but with his current progression and the support he’s getting, we might see a sub-49 second run for next year. If all goes well, then we might see him qualify for the finals of the men’s 400m hurdles next year at Rio. Even better, after so many years of waiting, the country may finally win a medal again in Athletics.

Photo from Eric Cray’s Facebook page


Sources:
http://www.iaaf.org/records/toplists/hurdles/400-metres-hurdles/outdoor/men/senior/2015
http://www.fla.lu/criteres/150822_beijing-wcs.pdf
http://www.iaaf.org/competition/standards
http://www.iaaf.org/records/by-category/area-records
http://data4.seagamesmm.com/pdf/18767.pdf
http://www.incheon2014ag.org/Sports/AT/Result?RSC=ATM044101&lang=en
http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/philippines/eric-cray-247095#pro

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3 Comments
  • Thanks for the article about Eric. But his goal is to make the finals. What you probably dont know about Eric is the guy is aggressive with his goals and he has already brought his time down from 50.00 to 49.12 due to the fact he has been able to train more. Until now he has been on the standard local rate for a gold medalist on government funds only which the PSC has provided him which is not very much compared to living costs in the states.

    Eric aims to run a 48.8 and 10.15 this year for the 400 Hurdles and 100m Dash.

    I will share with you quickly how i initially came into contact with Eric Cray. This is before i was working for the PSC. There is this guy reading my blog and then he starts emailing me his name is Eric Cray. Apparently he had been trying to contact PATAFA through there multiply blog at the time for over a year and they had been ignoring his messages.

    Well anyway the guys got lots of questions and mainly he wants to run for the Philippines. This is back in early 2013. Anyway i ask him for his performances the guy gives me his times, i do a background check. As the Philippines has had alot of duds before. This guy is pretty good he has ran a 50.46 the Phi Record is 51.26. This time is nearly a whole second faster than the winner of the 2011 SEA Games 51.45.

    Then i saw his photo the guy does not look Filipino he’s a black dude. But he assures me his mother is Filipino and he loves Adobo and Filipino dishes. So i said ok Eric, get a phi passport and then we will talk. So here we are now Eric dealing with some guy he doesn’t know who he is probably thinking is doing some dodgy identity theft, and me hoping he can deliver a phi passport.

    So what do i get he sends me a US Passport. So i say Eric phi passport if we are going to proceed? what do i get he sends me the red cover of the Phi Passport scanned. By this stage i’m getting pissed. Eric thats not what i meant?. At the same time he has a lot of questions about Phi Athletics which is another reason he is hesitant. I do my best with my contacts and connections to assure him of everyone but he is still half convinced. Then he submits the phi passport finally, i’m informed his 50.46 wont count and he has to do it again. A few days later he runs 50.74, erasing Unso 51.26 record.

    Then Cray comes to the nat open, with an anonymous private sponsor (not me). Probably some of the worse culture shock i’ve ever seen but he is ok now after about 4-5 trips out here. Anyway i will continue if u want to know more….

    • rjbarjay

      Sir, please continue. 🙂

      • Cray comes to the Nat Open in 2013 joining Team Run for Change. I had started talking with Eric Pasion the head of this group about a month after the 2012 nationals in Dumaguete. At that this stage im still with Team Hypersports. As Run for Change started making earlier preparations i decided to go with R4C in 2013 as one thing i do appreciate with a company or individual is someone who is an early planner. I am an early planner and hate leaving things to the last minute.

        Here we were me and Eric Pasion preparing Team Run for Change six months or more before National Games when other teams just leave it until a month or even a few weeks before. Well anyway i brought in four Fil-Heritage athletes that year which was the most so far Cray, Sarah Vitug (distance), Julio Alorro (Pole Vault) and Caleb Monticalvo (Pole Vault). Of the above only Cray is still active. Vitug decided to focus on her medical studies, Alorro lives in the Philippines now but is focusing on work, Caleb was not able to get a Phi Passport.

        Cray anyway got put into a room at Ultra, and the guy can eat he can really eat. It was not uncommon for him to eat four family sized pizza’s or a Jollibee bucket of chicken for one meal.

        At this time i wasnt working for the PSC, I was just doing this Fil-Heritage Program thing on my own. Anyway as Cray wasn’t comfortable this being is first time in Manila i was staying with in the room as a guide and someone he could goto if he needed anything sorted. PSC Toby Mijares the assistant to Com Jolly Gomez found out and tried to boot me out of the room, but i refused to leave. And Mijares stormed off. Ironically later Mijares would recommend me to Com Jolly and i ended up working for Jolly at the PSC and becoming friends with Toby.

        Anyway at the national championships Cray ran in the 110 Hurdles in the first round he broke the record in the heats with a run of 14.22 tying his all time best, and beating Pach Unso who also broke the record with 14.45. Prior to this Pach record was 14.49 at the ASEAN Uni Games.

        It was an epic battle in the finals with Pach not wanting to give anything away running neck to neck with Eric. It was only the fact Eric was the better sprinter where he was able to hold Pach off sprinting to the line. Eric won 14.17 to 14.21, again both men broke the 14.22 established in the heats. Till this day one of the greatest races in the history of the National Games and the 14.17 is still the national record.

        The thing about Eric is he wants to see things better. Eric helped Pach with some technique stuff before the final. “The boy can hurdle, i reckon he can run 13.6 and get a scholarship in the States” Eric said of Pach.

        “Im going to tell them before the final to let us warmup a the track, that concrete area is no good for the athletes” said Cray referring to the organization of the meet.

        Again this is a common thing me and Cray shared and still share. The need to improve things in the sport.

        Anyway things didn’t go so well, Cray ate a spring roll from the teams food. He ran the 400 Hurdles heats and qualified for the finals first in 53 something but it didnt look good at all, he didn’t feel so good the next day. Me and EJ Obiena who were sleeping in the room observed Cray slept the whole day he hardly got out of bed always tired and then he was throwing up and going to the toilet the whole night.

        Regrettably Cray had no choice but to pull out of the 400 Hurdle Finals bringing his national games campaign to a close.

        For me this was where i actually first met Commissioner Jolly Gomez. Me and Cray were able to talk to him there. Gomez was happy that Cray had broken the 110 Hurdles record at his event. A long time fan of the sport, i wont forget the words i was given that day.

        “In sport sometimes its not the leaders, but people like you who make the difference.”

        I took Eric back to the airport, and he was telling me we need to get this this and this sorted. Above all i had to make sure he got included in the Asian Champs. There was alot of paper work to be done.

        At the coaches meeting, i wasnt attending these ‘yet’ Cray was easily added to the roster for Asian Champs to be held in India.

        end of part 2 i will continue this next time?

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