All eyes now set on Elora as Cray, Torres-Sunang fail in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO: With Eric Cray failing to get past the semis of the men’s 400m hurdles and Marestella Torres Sunang unable to advance in the women’s long jump, the Philippines has suffered twin defeats in athletics at the Nilton Santos Stadium in Brazil.

Cray, who made it to the semis by clocking 49.05 seconds in his heat the other night, ran a little slower this time at 49.37. He finished seventh among eight runners in his heat and 17th among 24 semifinalists. The top eight made it to Thursday’s finals, reported Philippine Star.

Sunang, who’s in her last Olympics, said she hurt her hips during warmup and had a best jump of 6.22 meters, on her first attempt. It was off her personal best of 6.72 meters, which she established at the Kazakhstan Open last month, the report said.

With Cray and Sunang out of competition and flying home on August 19, only taekwondo jin Kirstie Elaine Alora is the only Philippine bet still in the Rio Olympics.

The 26-year-old Alora, who’s been here in Rio since July 23, will reportedly see action in the women’s +67 kg on August 20, against the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalist from Mexico, Maria Espinoza.

Alora is confident she can handle Espinoza, also a bronze medalist in the 2012 London Olympics. If the Filipina succeeds against the Mexican, she boosts her chances of making it to the medal rounds.

A medal of any color from Alora will give the Philippines its best finish it the Olympics. Ten days ago, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the silver medal in the women’s 63 kg division. It was the first Olympic medal for the Philippines since boxer Mansueto Velasco won the silver in Atlanta in 1996.

“Anything is possible in taekwondo,” chef-de-mission Jose Romasanta reportedly said.

Diaz and nine other athletes have left Rio for their respective homes, including table tennis Ian Lariba, golfer Miguel Tabuena, weightlifter Nestor Colonia, swimmer Jessie Khing Lacuna, marathoner Mary Joy Tabal and boxers Charly Suarez and Rogen Ladon to Manila; judoka Kodo Nakano to Japan; and swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi to Hawaii, reported Philippine Star.

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