Eric Cray vows to avenge setback in 2017 SEA Games
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 23, 2017 06:48 PM
Eric Cray (Contributed Photo)
KUALA LUMPUR – Eric Shawn Cray was smiling meekly just moments after the men’s 100-meter race late Tuesday night, trying to mask the physical and emotional pain of losing the title of being Southeast Asia’s fastest man to hometown favorite Khairul Hafiz Jantan.
“Oh yeah, I was definitely tired,” said Cray, who entered the century dash handicapped by having raced the men’s 400-meter hurdles finals barely over an hour before, narrowly retaining his title by holding off Vietnamese upstart Quach Cong Lich.
Still, the Rio Olympic Games veteran wouldn’t back down in his duel with Jantan, who had 20,000 cheering Malaysians supporting him at the massive 87,000-capacity National Stadium inside the KL Sports City.
They were neck-and-neck until the last two meters before the Malaysian surged a step ahead, stumbling after crossing the tape to rule the blue-ribbon event in 10.38 seconds, much to the delight of the Malaysian gallery.
“I gave it all I had but he (Jantan) ran a good race,” said the Filipino-American sprinter graciously in defeat after taking the silver in 10.43 seconds, relegating Thai Kritsada Namsuwun to the bronze in a photo-finish.
But Cray admitted that had the 400-meter hurdles and 100-meter run been held on different days, he would have definitely given Jantan a run for his money.
“I wish it (the 100 meters) was tomorrow and I could have recovered, and, you know, feel a little better,” added the sprinter, who bared that lactic acid from his three previous races, including the heats, had caused pain throughout his body.
“I’m taped everywhere from my lower back all the way down,” he said.
Cray, however, refused to dwell on his failure to defend his sprint crown and was determined to redeem himself in the men’s 4x100-meter relays on Friday.
“I got something for them (Filipino fans). I’ll recover, come back and we’re gonna chase that gold in the 4x100,” Cray vowed.
With the Philippines hosting the 30th Southeast Asian Games two years now, he also warned Jantan that their sprint rivalry was far from over.
“I’ll definitely back for the 100 in Manila,” Cray said.