Eric Shauwn Cray remains on track for his return to the Olympics, despite the challenges being posed by the pandemic in the United States, according to the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA), the sport's national governing body.
The US-raised Filipino hurdler and sprinter, who has represented the Philippines in numerous international contests, including the 2016 Rio Olympics, has been training in El Paso, Texas, which has been hit badly by COVID-19.
His coach, Samantha Cray, said the multiple Southeast Asian Games gold medalist hit 46.5 seconds in the 400 meter hurdles at the height of the pandemic in April in Texas.
The Olympic qualifying standard is 48.90.
"Eric is in the best shape he has ever been since his 48.98 personal best in 2016 and in comparison to practice, performing much faster than he was back then," Samantha said in her correspondence with PATAFA.
During his first race in the 2020 outdoor season in February, Cray ran a time of 47.8 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, smashing his previous indoor personal best of 48.28 seconds he established in 2015.
Samantha said that compared to previous seasons Cray was much stronger and consistent as "we put more focus on his race pattern and speed endurance."
There were issues related to the limited training venues and the delay in funding during the course of the lockdown.
But the PATAFA said those have been resolved through a collaboration with the Philippine Sports Commission.
Training for 2021 will continue, and Cray plans to join the 2020 Athletics National Championship in the second week of December.