4-time SEA Games gold medallist lead Rio track qualifers

ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 19, 2016 07:14 PM
4-time SEA Games gold medallist lead Rio track qualifers
Maristella Torres leads the Philippine track and field team who legitimately qualified for the Rio Olympics.

Four-time SEA Games gold medal winner Maristella Torres leads the Philippine Olympic Track and Field team set to compete in the Rio Summer Games next month.

Unlike the previous years where the world governing body of track and field would seed one athlete per sex to make sure each country is represented in the Olympics regardless if they qualified or not, the 2016 Rio Games is different as the Philippines will be sending real qualified athletes to Brazil.

Torres booked her ticket to the long jump event after she broke her personal and Philippine record of 6.72 meters in the final qualifers in Kazakhstan earlier this month.

The required height was 6.70 meters and Torres completed the jump in her sixth and final attempt. She previously missed the mark in her first five tries.

Joining Torres is hurdler Eric Cray who will compete in men's 400 meter hurdles where he is ranked in the top 10 in the world.

Born in Clark, Pampanga, Cray was a double gold medallist in the SEA Games and set the new record in both 100 meter dash and 400 meter hurdles.

The last member of the Philippine track team qualified for Rio is marathoner Mary Joy Tabal.

She qualified to the Olympics after finishing with a time of 2 hours, 43 minutes, and 29 seconds in the Ottawa Marathon in Canada last May, making the Olympic marathon cut-off.

All three qualifiers are privately funded and are not relying on the Philippine government for funds.

Torres and Clay are udner the "Adopt an Olympian Program" by expat and track and field advocate Jim Lafferty.

Meanwhile, Tabal is under the Motor Ace Group led by its CEO, Jonel Borromeo, a runner himself.

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