Athletics: Kayla Richardson tops 200, sets up clash vs Knott in 100

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Mar 23 2023 10:20 PM

Kayla Richardson pulls away in the women's century dash. Courtesy of PATAFA
Kayla Richardson pulls away in the women's century dash. Courtesy of PATAFA

ILAGAN, Isabela - A two-time Southeast Asian Games women's 100-meter champion versus a Tokyo Olympic Games veteran and former SEAG women's 200-meter queen.

This will be the interesting showdown between Kayla Richardson and Kristina Knott for the fastest woman on Saturday in the ICSTI Philippine Athletics Championships at the Ilagan Sports Complex here.

Running in her first race of the year, Richardson primed herself with for an intriguing clash with Knott after ruling the women's 200-meter sprint Thursday in a time of 24.10 seconds in a meet organized by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association.

The reigning SEAG women's 100-meter champ, who also won the event in her national team debut in the 2015 Singapore edition, ran a superb tactical race to hold off Malaysian veteran Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli, who took the silver (24.17).

Danae Manibog, who ran with Richardson at Fresno Pacific University, took the bronze (24.76).

Richardson's victory softened somewhat the foiled bid of Umajesty Williams of securing his second gold medal for the second straight day after a pulled hamstring relegated him to the silver in the men's 200-meter run.

Williams, who topped the men's 400-meter even in his first race for the country last Wednesday, began hurting as they entered the last 100 meters and struggled past the finish line in 21.40 seconds.

The event was narrowly won by Iraq's Taha Hussein Yaseen (21.20) while countryman Mohammed Al-Tameemi was third (21.67) in the competition supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.

"My plan was to push out the blocks really hard, beat everybody to the 100 and just finish strong, and I believe I did that," said Richardson of her win.

She said that the triumph was a huge boost to her anticipated clash with Knott, who set a SEAG record of 23.01 seconds in topping the event in the 2019 Philippine Games, as it gave her bragging rights as the fastest woman in the meet. 

"I am excited to my meeting with KK (Knott' nickname). We're looking forward to it. Racing her is good," Richardson declared.

The athlete's father-coach, Jeffrey, said that her daughter's win was not as easy as it looked, considering that she was still feeling the effects of jet lag since they arrived from the US last Monday.

"The victory wasn't as easy as it looks because the race time is about 2 o'clock in the morning the US," the elder Richardson pointed out. 

Williams, who had been nursing tendinitis on his left achilles heel, said that he felt his hamstring hurting as they entered the last 100 meters.

"I felt my right hamstring pull as we entered the final straight. I just managed to hold on. The Iraqi runner was pretty strong. I think I strained it because we didn't have enough time to warm it up after competing in the 400," he said. 

"I'm happy with the silver but not too happy with the injury. I hope I can recover in time," said Williams with a weak smile as he tried to cope with the pain.

Earlier Thursday, 2019 31st SEA Games women's marathon champion Christine Hallasgo showed her versatility in easily ruling the 10,000-meter run in a time 36:38.54.

Malaysia's Nani Sahirah Maryata ruled the women's shot put with a throw of 14.69 meters.