RIO DE JANEIRO – While runner Eric Cray is looking forward to the future, including the next Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, long jumper Marestella Torres Sunang is not really sure about what’s next for her.
Cray did not make it to the finals of the men’s 400m hurdles Tuesday evening, August 16, at the Nilton Santos Stadium, but retreated to the Athletes Villlage positive of training harder and doing better next time.
“I just got to get ready for the next race, keep training and get ready for the next season to come. Tokyo 2020 is going to be even better,” said Cray, who clocked 49.37 seconds in his semifinal heat and could not make it to the 12-man finals on Thursday, August 18.
Cray is set to fly home to El Paso, Texas on Friday, August 19. He said he would get some rest and then plan ahead. Already in the drawing board is the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia.
“Definitely I want to break my 100-meter record. I want to break my 400-meter record. I want to break the record in the 4 by 4. I want the gold in the 4 by 1. I have 4 events and it’s just the stepping stone for the Asian Games in 2018,” said the 27-year-old.
“After that I want to get ready for 2020. I still got it in my heart and mind that I’m going to go to 2020. The past two years was like the beginning for me. I’ll be ready for 2020 and I’m going to do great,” he added.
For Cray, being in his first Olympics is such an opportunity. He said he has been in constant touch with his Filipina mother, who’s also based in Texas, and was sure that his family was cheering for him thousands of miles away.
“I’m just grateful for everybody,” he said.
“Being in the Olympics is the biggest thing for a track and field athlete. It’s still the number one sporting event in the world and it’s just every 4 years so when it comes around you got to go,” Cray added.
Sunang, on the other hand, left the stadium cursing herself for being careless during the warm-up, when she ran a full approach without having the sand cleared by race officials.
Because a fellow runner made a jump before her, there was a break in the sand.
“Na-shoot ‘yung paa ko sa butas sa sand. Malalim ‘yung butas at na-eksakto dun ang talon ko,” said Sunang, adding that during her fall she felt a sharp pain in her hip.
(My foot entered the hole in the sand. The hole was deep and that’s exactly where my foot landed.)
“Naramdaman ko agad. Kaya sa first jump ko pa lang, alam kong masakit. Gumuguhit hanggang sa lower back ko ‘yung sakit,” she said.
(I felt it right away. That’s why during my first jump, I knew it hurt. The pain extended to my lower back.)
As a result, she could only jump 6.22 in her first jump when in practice here she was already averaging 6.46 to 6.50. A jump of 6.53 or higher could have carried her to Wednesday’s finals.
In her second and third jumps she did 6.10 and 6.15.
Sunang, who has a best jump of 6.72, established in the Kazakhstan Open only last June, is in her last Olympics. She’s already 35, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is out of the horizon.
She said she can still vie for the 2017 SEA Games or the 2018 Asian Games but is quite unsure of her next tournament.
“Naiinis ako sa nangyari. Naging careless ako, Parang nakita ko na ‘yung butas sa sand, tinuloy ko pa din ang jump. Hindi ko inisip na baka ma-shoot ako sa butas. Hindi na nga nag-qualify, na-injure pa,” said the 3-time Olympian.
(I’m annoyed at what happened. I became careless. I already saw the hole in the sand, but I still pushed through with the jump. I didn’t think that my foot could land there. Aside from not qualifying, I also got injured.)
Her coach, Joebert Delicano, said they will have to check the extent of the injury first thing in the morning Wednesday.
“Kailangan matingnan agad,” said Delicano, adding that Sunang is scheduled to compete in the Asian Beach Games in Vietnam next month.
(It needs to be looked at right away.)
“Baka hindi na ako sumali,” said Sunang.
(I may no longer join.) – Rappler.com