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Cray, Brown hit Budapest

No slowing down Eric Cray PHOTOGRAPH courtesy of SEA GAMES POOL Eric Cray flashes the No. 6 sign after securing his sixth SEA Games gold medals in the 32nd SEA Games in Phnom Penh.

Filipino-American hurdlers Eric Cray and Robyn Brown have arrived in the Hungarian capital of Budapest in the runup for the 2023 World Athletic Championships from 19 to 27 August.

Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association secretary general Edward Kho told DAILY TRIBUNE that the two are relaxing and getting ready as they participate in the biggest athletics competition outside the Olympics.

Kho said having both Cray and Brown composed will benefit them in the long run once the competition starts.

Cray, an eight-time Southeast Asian Games champion, will compete on 20 August in the men’s 400-meter while Brown, who won the gold in the women’s 400m hurdles in the Asian Athletics Championships last July in Pattaya, Thailand, will compete on 21 August also in the 400.

The third Filipino entry, world No. 2 pole vaulter EJ Obiena, is blowing into town on 21 August.

“They’re chill. Here, it feels like a celebration of the sport. It isn’t like the Olympics where you feel stiff and nervous about delivering results.  We even saw Dalilah Muhammad, who Robyn will be competing against and she’s just walking around,” said Kho, who said PATAFA president Terry Capistrano is also in the Hungarian capital.

“We’re excited to see them play,” he added.

This will be the Philippines’ biggest delegation so far in the World Athletics Championships as Obiena was the lone representative in last year’s edition in Eugene, Oregon.

Kho said despite the event being a qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics, having both Cray and Brown composed and relaxed will give them an edge in the tournament.

The qualifying period started last July and athletes who want to get into next year’s Summer Games will have to either earn enough points and join more tournaments or hit the qualifying mark during the qualifying period.

For the 400m hurdles, the men’s standard is at 48.70 seconds while the women’s qualifying standard is at 54.85 seconds.

“From what we observed, an athlete can perform better if the, according to sports psychology, arousal peak should be in the middle. I guess we will be seeing a lot of good performances from our athletes,” Kho said.

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