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As early as now, Fil-American track and field athlete Eric Cray has set his sights on defending his titles in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August.
The 28-year-old sprinter and hurdler said he has already started his training for next season in El Paso, Texas under renowned Jamaican coach Davian Clarke.
“I still wish to represent the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games as the defending champion,” said the Olongapo-born Cray in an e-mail interview.
Cray snared the 100-meter gold at the 2015 Singapore SEAG by clocking his personal best of 10.25 seconds. He also reset the 20-year-old SEAG record of Thailand’s Chanon Keanchan (49.76sec) in the 400m hurdles with a time of 49.40sec.
Cray, however, said his training is more focused on his pet event, the 400m hurdles, where he made it to the semifinals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“My goal is to be one of the best 400m hurdlers in the world. As for now and as for the records, we will see. I’m hoping to take down the 100m and 400m hurdlers (national) records again,” Cray said.
Apart from the SEAG, Cray said he also eyes to compete in the Asian Championships in Ranchi, India on July 1 to 4 and the IAAF World Championships on Aug. 4 to 13 in London, England.
It has been a successful year for Cray after making into the Olympics semifinals and winning the bronze medal in the 60 meters of the Asian Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar. He was actually the only Southeast Asian to win a medal in the men’s division.
He also ran 48.98sec in Madrid last June – a rare feat in his career.
“I hope I can do better in more high-profile tournaments like the Olympics and the world championships, but I’m taking it one tournament at a time. So far, I’m very happy with how I ran in 2016,” said Cray.