RIO-bound Eric Cray anchored his 4x100-meter team to victory in what could have been a record-breaking victory on Friday in the Philippine National Athletics Championship at the Philsports track oval.
Isidro del Prado Jr., Edgardo Alejan, Brandon Thomas and Cray clocked 40.54 seconds, better than the 40.55-second mark set by Arnold Villarube, Ralph Waldy Soguilon, Albert Salcedo, and Henry Dagmil in the 2005 Manila SEA Games.
But organizers won’t consider the time a new national record, declaring Del Prado ineligible for the relay after registering for the 200-m dash but failing to compete. Organizers said an athlete who does not participate in an event where his name has been registered will no longer be allowed to race in other events.
Nevertheless, Cray’s performance was impressive after nearly missing the event.
The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association initially disqualified Cray from the 4x100-m. He was teammates with Thomas, Joan Caido and Archand Bagsit of University of Baguio.
Meet rules state that the relay squad should be on the same team, but Cray was later reinstated following a meeting with Patafa president Philip Ella Juico and secretary general Renato Unso. Cray was joined by Del Prado, Thomas, and Alejan.
Unso said it was just a misunderstanding.
“Sa isang competition, kung magpapalaro po tayo, nag-rerepresent kayo ng isang team. What happened to Cray’s team was nagkaroon siya ng combination ng iba-ibang team na binuo nila sa relay. Meron po tayong guidelines na for example ang team ko Air Force, ang mga kasama ko dapat is Air Force. Maliwanag po ‘yan sa guidelines,” said Unso.
Cray last year booked a spot in the 400-meter hurdles in Rio, passing the 49.40-second Olympic qualifying standard.