Fil-Am Eric Cray finishes third in heat to qualify for semifinals in Olympic 400m hurdles
Eric Cray clears one of the final hurdles on the way to earning a place in the semifinals of the 400m hurdles in the Rio Olympics. Jerome Ascano

RIO DE JANEIRO - Fil-American Eric Cray finished third in his heat on Monday to earn a place in the semifinals of the 400-meter hurdles in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Keeping a steady pace in the outermost lane, Cray clocked 49.05 seconds as he finished third behind Japanese Keizuke Naisawa and Irishman Thomas Barr in Heat 4 to earn a place in the next round.

However, the 27-year-old Southeast Asian Games double gold medalist faces a tough task when he races again on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time) for a place in the finals to be run later that day.

Cray, who traces his roots to Olongapo City, turned in the 16th best time in the six heats.

However, Cray is capable of going faster as his personal best is 48.98 seconds.

Cray, at least, need not worry about Nicholas Bett, who won a surprising world title in the 400-meter hurdles last year, after the Kenyan was disqualified in the first round.

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