After quarantine ‘COVID jail’ ordeal, coach wants Knott to refocus for Tokyo Olympics

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Jun 26 2021 10:09 PM

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After being swab-tested Saturday (Friday in Europe), Tokyo Olympics-bound sprinter Kristina Knott of the Philippines and American coach Rohsaan Griffin were given a clean bill of health by Swedish health authorities, permitting them to return to the US.

“We are out of Covid Jail 🙌🏾‼️Thank GOD🙌🏾🙏🏾‼️” a relieved Griffin said after they were quarantined for 5 days at their hotel when Knott tested positive for COVID-19 hours before she was to compete at the Karlstad Grand Prix in Karlstad, Sweden.

Griffin and Knott were surprised Knott tested positive for the lethal virus, considering that they both had been completely inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine in the US before leaving for Europe.

It was a huge disappointment for Knott, who withdrew from the women’s 100 and 200-m dashes. 

The snafu was softened somewhat when World Athletics, the world governing body for track and field, awarded Knott with a universality place at the 200-meter race in Tokyo, a confirmation she received on the same day.

Fellow Olympics hopeful Eric Shawn Cray, who was with them in Karlstad, scrapped his entry in the men’s 400-meter hurdles because he came in close contact with Knott, although he tested negative together with Griffin and Italian fitness and conditioning coach Carlo Buzzichelli. 

A former University of Miami varsity mainstay, Knott joined pole-vaulter Ernest John Obiena as the country’s track and field representatives to the Tokyo Olympics opening on July 23. 

“Thank you!” Knott posted on Instagram Stories when congratulated over the development.

Smith, who has been a consultant of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association since 2016, bared that they were leaving for Stockholm, 310.1 kilometers southeast of Karlstad, later that day by train before taking the 7:30 a.m. flight back to the US by tomorrow.

So excited were they about leaving Sweden that “we’ve been finished prepping since last night,” according to Griffin, who said he was more concerned about Knott’s mental well-being more than her physical fitness due to the ordeal.

“Once we arrive stateside, she (Knott) will go home, prep her things and head back to Austin, Texas, by July 6 to resume our training camp,” said Griffin of his Texan hometown.

“Austin is where one of the International Olympic certified testing centers for the Games is located.

“We will train there until July 18 and then will head to Nagasaki for 10 days until heading into the Olympic Village on July 28.”

Griffin and Knott are expected to link up with national teammate Obiena in the city located on the southernmost tip of Japan and 1,230.6 kilometers away from the Japanese capital. 

The coach said that the women’s 200-meter race is scheduled for two days, with the heats and semifinals on August 2 and the final on the evening of August 3.

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