KUALA LUMPUR — The Philippine track and field team fell flat on Friday, as it lagged behind its regional rivals and settled for four bronze medals in the Southeast Asian Games Friday at National Stadium inside the KL Sports City here.
With Eric Cray nursing a strained left foot and Trenten Beram recovering from fatigue, the Philippine men’s team couldn’t keep pace with Thailand, which took the gold with a Games record time of 38.90 seconds in the men’s 4 x 100 meters.
The Filipinos, with Beram as the anchor, settled for bronze with a time of 39.11 seconds as the last Indonesian runner came from behind in the last five meters to snatch silver with a time of 39.05 seconds.
As consolation, the Philippine men’s relay squad established a new national record, surpassing the old mark of 39.95 seconds set by Patrick Unso, Beram, Anfernee Lopena and Archand Bagsit at the Hong Kong Inter City meet last June.
“My form was off and my legs were heavy,” said Beram, who raced for a third consecutive day and less than 18 hours after winning the 400 meters.
Cray said he tweaked his left foot in the men’s 400-meter hurdles and the century dash, which he ran on the same day Tuesday.
“(Friday) was my first day of practice since Tuesday since I couldn’t run on my left foot,” said the Rio de Janeiro Olympian, who will skip the 4 x 400-meter relays on Saturday.
National coach Jojo Posadas said if Beram and Cray are unavailable, recently crowned SEA Games decathlon champion Aries Toledo and Isidro del Prado Jr., son of the champion middle-distance runner Isidro Sr., will come in as substitutes.
Minutes earlier, the women’s squad of Zion Rose Nelson, Kayla Richardson, Kyla Richardson and Eloisa Luzon lost to a Vietnamese side powered by Le Cu Tinh, the reigning SEA Games women’s 100- and 200-meter titleholder.
The Vietnamese sprinter anchored her team to a record-breaking time of 43.88 seconds, while Thailand (44.2 seconds) and the Philippines (44.81 seconds) finished 2-3.
Like its male counterparts, the Philippine women’s team also reset the national mark, shattering the 36-year-old record of 45.29 seconds set by Lydia de Vega-Mercado, Edna Punelas, Elena Ganosa and Rhoda Sinoro in the 1981 Manila SEA Games.
Melvin Calano gave the Philippines its third bronze in athletics competition on Friday, placing third in the men's javelin throw, while former Asian long-jump queen Marestella Torres-Sunang settled for bronze.
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