CAPAS CITY – The Philippine track and field squad surpassed its six-gold target in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after winning four in Day 3 of the competition Sunday night at the New Clark City Athletic Stadium here.
Eric Cray bounced back from his false starts in the 100m heats Sunday morning that disqualified him in the finals, as he anchored the mixed gender 4×100 relay in a thrilling finish that capped the productive day for Team Philippines.
Cray, Anfernee Lopena, Kristina Knott and Eloiza Luzon timed in 41.19 seconds to beat their counterparts from Thailand (41.99) and Malaysia (42.40) for the gold medal.
It was the fourth gold for the athletics team after Willie Morrison, Natalie Uy and Sarah Dequinan ruled their respective events.
Morrison and Uy set new meet records in their respective events while Dequinan ended the country’s 18-year gold-medal drought in women’s heptathlon to raise the country’s gold haul to seven.
The 23-year old Morrison shattered the men’s shot put record with a distance of 18.38 meters, easily eclipsing the 17.74 mark of Thailand’s Polyiam Chatchawal in the 2011 edition of the meet.
Uy also took the gold in record fashion in women’s pole vault with a leap of 4.25 meters, beating Thailand’s Sukanya Chomchuendee (4.10) and Chonthicha Khabut (4.00), who settled for silver and bronze, respectively.
Chomchuendee previously held the record in women’s pole vault with 4.21 meters set in 2013 in Myanmar.
The surprising producer of gold for Team Philippines in athletics was 26-year old Dequinan, who ruled the women’s heptathlon with a total of 5,101 points and beat Malaysia’s Norliyana Kamarrudin (4,909) and Thailand’s Sunisa Khotseemueang (4,730).
Elma Muros-Posadas was the last Filipina to win a heptathlon gold in the SEA Games in 2001.
Knott, meantime, failed to sweep the sprint events after settling for silver in the 100m dash with the time of 11.55 seconds, losing to Vietnam’s Tu Chnh Le (11.54) by a hairline.
Mariano Masano also won the silver for the host country in the 1500m run after clocking
4:08.27 with Vietnam’s Van Tha Duong taking the gold with 4:06.63. Thailand’s Yothin Yaprajan grabbed the bronze with 4:08.90.