Fully vaccinated sprinter Knott still tested positive for COVID, says PH sports official

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Jun 24 2021 08:35 AM

Although fully inoculated with the Pfizer Biontech vaccine against COVID-19, Olympic qualifier and sprinter Kristina Knott still tested positive for the highly contagious and lethal virus and was forced to withdraw in the last minute from the Karlstad Grand Prix in Sweden last Tuesday (early Wednesday in Manila).

“While Kristina was fully vaccinated, she tested positive for COVID-19 just a few hours before she was about to compete in her second-to-the-last event,” athletics chief Philip Ella Juico announced the development in a late Wednesday afternoon online press conference.

“Hotel personnel and meet organizers informed her (Knott) and her party shortly after lunch of the development.”

American coach Rohsaan Griffin, who attended the briefing and is with Knott in Sweden, said he could not believe the news because he and Knott had been fully jabbed before they had left for the US more than two weeks ago.

In fact the coach said that he, Knott and Eric Shawn Cray, who was also in Karlstad, were all given a clean bill of health when they took part in the Sollentuna Grand Prix last week also in Sweden and 292.9 kilometers northwest of their present location. 

“I thought it was a joke. Are you kidding us? But it was not,” said Griffin. “Now she (Knott) will have to stay five days in confinement and have another test before we are able to leave.”

Griffin said that they had foreseen this possibly happening during the course of their travels in Europe so had brought their own test kits as a precaution

“She (Knott) tested negative. So we requested another test from the organizers but she still came back positive,” he said of the situation after they had been tested the day before the trackfest together with Cray and Italian fitness and conditioning coach Carlo Buzichelli.

Cray, who has recovered from the virus and is still not vaccinated, Buzichelli and Griffin were cleared after the swab test, according to the coach.

For having come into contact with Knott, Cray was also forced to pull out of the men’s 400-meter hurdles.

Due to the sprinter’s condition, Griffin said Knott’s participation at the Kourtney Games in Kourtney, Finland on June 26 was scrapped, what would have been her last competition. 

Unable to get out of Sweden, Juico said that Cray, accompanied by Buzichelli, would see action in a meet in Gothenburg, 249.4 kilometers southwest of Karlstad, 4 days from now in his last-ditch bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. 

Griffin said that he fretted more about Knott’s mental state rather than her physical condition, “since she has not shown any symptoms (of COVID-19) and not lagged in her training.

“A blow like this can do a lot to your mental state. But KK (Knott’s initials and nickname) is a quiet warrior. She is upbeat and knowing her she is probably listening in her room,” the coach added.

Knott, however, seemed to take her quarantine in stride and was glad she would now be able to compete for the Philippines in the Tokyo Olympics after being awarded a universality place by World Athletics Wednesday in the women’s 200-meter run. 

“It’s an answered prayer. I’ve always dreamed of being an Olympian one day,” Knott replied when asked about her accomplishment.

“Will do po, thank you,” added the brave athlete in saying that this adversity would only fuel her to perform better in Tokyo.

“What I want to do right now is for her (Knott) to get out of confinement and get us out of here,” Griffin stressed.

“Knott is like my own daughter. I am more worried about her as a person right now than as an athlete. That’s my primary concern so that’s our plan in the immediate future and then gets back on track in preparing for Tokyo.” 

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