Fil-American sprinter Kristina Marie Knott is close and can make the qualifying times for the Tokyo Olympics in two events.
Knott’s coach Rohsaan Griffin believes so after the Fil-Am competed against two superstars, broke the Philippine national record and earned the silver medal in the women’s 100-meter run last Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa in the United States.
“Very promising performances (from Knott), given the current situational crisis the world is dealing with,” said Griffin in an online interview with the Manila Standard.
Griffin talked about his observations at the end of the sprint races of the star-studded Drake Blue Oval Showcase Presented by Mediacom at Drake Stadium in de Moines, Iowa.
As US national indoor champion Kayla White came close to the Olympic qualifying time with her 11.18-second clocking, the 5’6” Knott cruised to second place at a national record-smashing 11.27 seconds, with a tailwind of 1.5 meters per second blowing in her favor.
With her performance, the Florida-based Knott shattered one of Philippine track legend Lydia de Vega-Mercado’s two remaining national records.
The national mark of 11.28 seconds stood for 33 years since De Vega-Mercado claimed the gold in the 1987 Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta.
Griffin believes that Knott is close to the 11.15-second qualification time for the Olympics.
“Comparatively, 11.27 definitely puts her on track to go below the 22.80 Olympic Qualifying mark for 200 meters as well as in reach of the 11.15 mark for 100 meters as well,” added Griffin.
The presence of White, currently no. 7 in the world, and Olympic 4x100 meter relay gold medallist and Rio Olympics long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta provided Knott a chance to compete against the world’s best.
“So the work this month was focused on those specific technical aspects of rhythm, timing and confidence at intense practice speeds. So no matter what distance she was competing in 100 or 200, she’s ready to run fast,” explained Griffin, who feels that Knott needs to join more races, since she still not yet at peak.
“To begin with, Kristina had not raced enough,” said Griffin.
“Despite the lack of competitive races, PATAFA has embarked on a hybrid skills and strength and conditioning program (for its athletes),” said Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico, adding they plan to complement Knott’s training and preparations with the online program for the next four months.
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