Competing against a tough, world-class field was intimidating. And it gave Fil-American sprinter Kristina Marie Knott reason to get scared the night before she was to take part in the women’s 100-meter run last Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa in the United States.
But prayers and watching the movie, Harriet, a 2019 American biographical film about abolitionist and end-to-slavery advocate Harriet Tubman, inspired Knott to bring out the best version of herself during the race.
“In this one scene, this guy told Harriet, ‘fear is the enemy, trust in God.’ That’s kind of what I had in my mind...and ‘KK you better not get last,’” the 24-year-old Knott told herself in an interview with the Manila Standard.
Now, that it’s over, Knott promises to stay focused on her goal, which is the Tokyo Olympics.
And it’s also possible that she can make the qualifying times for the Tokyo Olympics in two disciplines—the 100 meters and her pet event, the 200 meters.
Coach Rohsaan Griffin, who accompanied Knott to the race, said she is not at her peak yet.
“Kristina performed as expected given our planning, and in the future with more races and a more ideal training situation and competition schedule, she will run faster,” said Griffin.
In the said Iowa tournament, Knott broke the Philippines’ 100-meter national mark in the star-studded Drake Blue Oval Showcase meet at Drake Stadium.
US national indoor champion Kayla White, one of Knott’s biggest rivals, came close to the Olympic qualifying time with her 11.18-second clocking. The 5’6” Knott settled for second place with a national record-smashing 11.27 seconds.
The Florida-based Knott went on to shatter one of Philippine track legend Lydia de Vega-Mercado’s two remaining national records.
The national mark stood for 33 years at 11.28 seconds, with De Vega-Mercado setting that record by claiming the gold in the 1987 Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta.
Both White’s and Knott’s times are close to the 11.15-second qualification time for the Olympics.
The feat also gives Knott a shot at improving her clocking in the women’s 200-meter run OQT if she had the chance to join the event that day. Her record-breaking 23.07 seconds in the Southeast Asian Games last year is just a whiff behind the the 22.80-second Olympic Qualifying time in the 200 meters.
“I’m just grateful for the opportunity to race and super proud at the execution of my race.” added Knott.
Another participant in the star-studded tournament was Rio Olympics’ long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta, one of six Olympic champions, who showed up in the meet.
Philippine Athletic Track and Field Association chief Philip Ella Juico said Knott’s feat was the result of changes in the her training program since the beginning of August, with strength and conditioning coach Carlo Buzzicelli lending a helping hand.
And this is expected to continue until December.
“Starting August, our strength and conditioning coach Carlo Buzzicelli and Griffin, conducted their sessions with Kristina online. This online program will be augmented by in-person sessions between September to December,” said Juico.
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