THE Philippines’ Eric Shauwn Cray stormed to an emphatic victory in the men’s 100 meters at the SEA Games, snatching the title of Southeast Asia’s fastest man from Thai Jirapong Meenapra at the start of the athletics event on Tuesday.
The Olangapo-born 26-year-old stopped the clock at 10.25 seconds, sweeping aside defending champion Jirapong who finished fifth.
Indonesia claimed the silver and bronze medals, with Yaspi Boby and Iswandi both clocking 10.45. Boby edged his compatriot in his reaction time out of the starting blocks.
“I just tried to get out as good as possible...I don’t think I had the best start. But I am just happy with the win,” Cray said after the race.
The Filipino-American in May became the first Philippine athlete to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, meeting the qualifying mark of 49.40 sec for the men’s 400 metres hurdles at the Cayman Invitational Athletics.
Another Filipino-American Caleb John Christian Stuart ruled the men's hammer throw in record-breaking fashion at the start of the athletics events yesterday while Chezka Centeno won the women's 9-ball event in billiards in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
The 24-year-old Stuart heaved 65.63 meters to establish a new SEA Games record at the National Stadium in Singapore. He surpassed the previous record of 62.23 by Tanti Petchaiya of Thailand, who was relegated to the silver medal with 62.18, while Malaysia's Jackie Swiew Wong claimed the bronze medal in 61.18 meters.
Veteran Arnel Ferreira, a four-time SEA Games winner, settled for just fourth place with 60.08 meters.
As of yesterday afternoon, the Philippine team has 12 golds, 17 silvers and 26 bronze medals and has improved to sixth place.
“I’m happy that I came here and did what I had to do and win a gold for our country,” said the 24-year-old former University of Califorinia-Riverside varsity team mainstay, who recorded his winning throw in the third attempt after a foul in the first try.
He said that he was just out of timing when he made his first attempt that resulted to a foul throw. “I just made a simple throw in the second attempt so I could get my rhythm.”
“I couldn’t have done it without that woman in the white hat,” added Stewart referring to his mother, who came with her youngest son John and niece Jasina.
The country’s top female billiards player Cebuana Rubilen Amit suffered another loss the teenage sensation Chezka Centeno for the gold medal in the Women’s 9-Ball Pool Singles held at the OCBC Arena Hall 4.
Centeno, the 15-year-old wonder from Zamboanga, denied Amit the gold medal following a scrappy 7-5 win in the finals.
Centeno sealed the win after winning three of the last four racks, sinking the 9-ball in the right corner pocket on the 12th frame to become the country’s youngest gold medalist. Amit, the women’s 10-ball champion in the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games, settled for the silver.
“Masaya po ako at nanalo,” said Centeno, who grabbed the Asian Pockets Billiards Union 9-ball junior crown in Taiwan last August. Her fate was a strong follow-up to the Filipino cue aces, who pocketed their first gold medal through Warren Kiamco and Carlos Biado in the men’s 9-ball doubles last Sunday.
The erstwhile unknown Centeno, first made waves when she first defeated Amit, not only once but twice, in a heart-stopping 7-6 win in the elimination round and later in the semifinal round, 7-3, in the 2013 Philippine National Games.
Centeno was the elementary division champion of the Sun.Star Superbalita 9-Ball Challenge in 2013.
In the Men’s Division, the current world No.1 pool player Carlo Biado will be in collision course with the former world No.1 Dennis Orcollo in the 9-ball singles gold medal match. (With AFP)