THE Philippines’ Eric Shawn Cray placed seventh in the finals of the 400m hurdles on Monday extending the medal struggles of the country’s athletics team in the ongoing 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.
With less than a week left in the quadrennial continental sporting meet, the Philippine athletics team is still in search of its first medal and now risking extending its medal drought at the Asiad some more.
The last time Philippine athletics won a medal at the Asian Games was in 1994 in Hiroshima, Japan, where Elma Muros won a bronze in long jump.
Up against a top class field, Mr. Cray, a two-time Southeast Asian Games champion, found the going tough in the 400m hurdles at the Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium on Monday night.
Cray, the oldest in the field at 29 years old, submitted a time of 51.53, which was even slower than his 50.54 in the semifinals.
Also failing to snatch a medal was marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, who finished 11th in her event on Aug. 26.
The reigning Southeast Asian Games marathon champion clocked 2:51:41 in the ultra competitive marathon competition, failing to crack the top 10 and finishing the race 16 minutes and 50 seconds behind champion Rose Chelimo of Bahrain (2:34:51).
“I really tried my best, but the other runners paced themselves well,” said Ms. Tabal after her run, where she nonetheless wound up as the best Southeast Asian finisher.
Decathlete Aries Toledo, meanwhile, was not able to finish his event on Sunday because of an injury to his elbow.
Veteran long-jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang, for her part, finished ninth in her event on Monday while Filipino athletes in the women’s 100 meters, men’s 400 and 800 meters and men’s 110m hurdles were not so lucky as well.
Mr. Cray will again try his luck in striking a medal in the 4×100 relay with Anfernee Lopena, Clayton Bautista, and Trenten Beram on Thursday.
Trenten Anthony Beram and fellow Filipino-American Kristina Knott, meanwhile, were still battling in the 200 men’s and women’s events yesterday.
On Friday, EJ Obiena plunges into action in the men’s pole vault.
Meanwhile, Team Philippines as of 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday stood at 19th place in the medal standings with three gold medals and 12 bronzes. Michael Angelo S. Murillo