Juico stakes name on the line with 8 to 12 SEAG athletics gold prediction
Mark Escarlote on May 28, 2015 05:27 PM
As what you’ve read and heard in the newspapers, television and radio the projection is eight or up to 12 gold medals. I hope you don’t make a liar out of me --- PATAFA president Philip Ella Juico
The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association gave a bold prediction of bringing home no less than eight up to 12 gold medals in the upcoming 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
And with it, athletics head Philip Ella Juico is putting his name and reputation on the line.
The burden to deliver the promise now rests in the hands of the 36 Pinoy and Pinay bets set to compete in the biennial meet that will run from June 5 to 16.
“As what you’ve read and heard in the newspapers, television and radio the projection is eight or up to 12 gold medals. I hope you don’t make a liar out of me,” Juico said in jest and at the same time a firm challenge to the PHI athletics team that attended the association’s sendoff held at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City Thursday.
Led by prolific Filipino-American hurdler Eric Cray, who formally became the first local athlete in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics after hitting the Olympic qualifying mark at the Cayman Invitational Athletics Tournament last May 16, the Team Pilipinas Athletics bets are considered to be the country’s biggest hope in hauling the most mints to help make the target of surpassing the Philippines’ dismal seventh place finish in the Myanmar edition two years ago.
Cray, the Olongapo-born hurdler who was raised in San Antonio, Texas, registered 49.12 seconds in the men's 400-meter hurdler, which is above the 49.40-second qualifying mark set by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF).
Aside from that, he also shattered the meet record of 49.59 seconds as well as the Southeast Asian Games record of 49.76 seconds.
With that, Cray improved his ranking to seventh in the IAAF list.
In the 2013 SEA Games, the Filipino track contingent pocketed six gold medals courtesy of Cray in the 400m. hurdles, Archand Bagsit (400m. dash), Jesson Cid (decathlon), Christopher Ulboc Jr. (3000m. steeplechase), the ageless Henry Dagmil (long jump) and the 4x400m. relay team of Isidro Del Prado Jr., Edgardo Alejan Jr., Julius Nierras and Bagsit.
Aside from a possible repeat on the events won by Filipino bets, other disciplines where the squad could strike gold are in hammer throw courtesy of Fil-Am Caleb Stuart and pole vault where hopes are pinned on 19-year-old Ernest John Obiena.
Stuart could also deliver in the discus throw, where last March he heaved a personal-best 68.66 last March in the Ben Brown meet in Los Angeles breaking the current SEA Games mark of 62.23 held by Thai Tantiphong Petchaiya, and in shot put, where the throwers’ career mark is 17.88m. – a little over than the 17.64m. SEAG record by another Thai Thawin Khachin.
Other possible events where Filipinos could at least a bag a bronze medal are in men’s marathon, 1,500m., 4x100m. relay, 110m. hurdles, and in women’s long jump, 10,000m. and heptathlon.
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