Kayla Richardson won the gold in the women's 100m. SEA Games pool photo
Kayla Anise Richardson celebrates her gold-winning victory in the women’s 100m at the SEA Games on May 18, 2022. Luong Thai Linh, EPA-EFE
Kayla Richardson became Southeast Asia's fastest woman on Wednesday by topping the women's 100 meters in the 31st SEA Games at My Dinh Stadium in Vietnam.
The Fil-American picked up the pace halfway through the 100-meter finals and went steady to the finish, clocking in at 11.6 seconds.
She bested the likes of 200-m queen, Singapore’s Shanti Pereira, who placed runner-up with a time of 11.62 and Thailand’s Supanich Poolkerd, who placed third in 11.66 seconds.
"It just feel amazing," she said in an interview with ABS-CBN's Dyan Castillejo.
"Staying confident in yourself, trusting your training, your coach and silencing all the noise is so crucial."
The 26-year-old only placed second in the heats with a 12.02 time, but it was meant to reserve strength for the finals.
“I was just chillin’,” said Richardson with a laugh. “I was just trying to get to the finals.”
With the win, Kayla, a bronze medalist in the 200 meters three days ago behind silver medalist and twin Kyla, proved a worthy teammate to the injured Tokyo Olympian Knott, who failed to join the games here because of plantar fasciitis on her foot.
Meanwhile, Eric Shauwn Cray, barely 24 hours after winning a 5th straight 400-m hurdles title and a seventh gold overall in the biennial meet, failed to advance to the 100-meter finals.
The 33-year-old runner promised to make it to the Olympics this time, which will be held in Paris two years from now.
Evalyn Palabrica also won a medal in athletics with a podium finish in women's javelin throw.
Palabrica got a bronze by registering a distance of 49.07 meters.
Meanwhile, the Philippine women's track team won a bronze medal in the the women's 4x400 meter relay.