After breaking national record, Knott sets sights on Olympics

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2020 11:27 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino-American sprinter Kristina Knott is determined to hit the qualifying times for the Tokyo Olympics, after already breaking the Philippine records in both the 100- and 200-meter distances.

While she initially hoped to qualify for the 200-meters, her pet event, Knott's recent feat in the Drake Blue Oval Showcase in Iowa convinced her that she can also make it in the 100-meters.

"I'm still trying to get it in my head that I have potential in the 100," Knott said during an appearance on "Power and Play" with former PBA commissioner Noli Eala. "But for sure, the 200 race. Just give me those."

In the Iowa meet, Knott broke the 33-year-old century dash record held by Philippine sprint legend Lydia de Vega by clocking in at 11.27 seconds.

She also holds the national record in 200-meters, with a time of 23.01 seconds set during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Both times, however, are not enough to meet the Olympic qualification for the 100-meters (11.15 seconds) and the 200-meters (22.80 seconds).

Knott is confident that she can meet the qualifying times, however, especially after how she performed at the Drake Blue Oval Showcase where she ran against members of Team USA and more than held her own.

"I think it woke me up," she said. "Like, okay, you can try to go for both, not just the 200, for the Olympics. I was like, game on."

At the moment, the Philippines has already qualified one track and field athlete to the Tokyo Games -- pole vaulter EJ Obiena, who hit the qualifying mark in a tournament in Chiara, Italy in September last year.

While Olympic qualification rules allow national Olympic committees to enter their best-ranked male or female athlete via universality places, Knott said she doesn't want to rely on this.

"I never want to just be sent," she explained. "I want to earn my spot. I'm here because I ran fast enough to hit the qualifying time."

"So the whole betting on the, oh we're gonna send one girl. I don't want it that way. I want to qualify," she stressed.

Knott is taking a break from competition this month, but plans to start competing again in October.

"Hopefully by next year, I have competitions lined up that will not be cancelled," said Knott, who plans to run both distances in future meets.