FOR Kristina Knott, the work is not done yet.
Making it to Tokyo Olympics, after all, is still foremost on her mind.
“The work’s not done yet. I still have to become an Olympian, so that’s my focus right now,” said Knott during the 16th “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom last Thursday.
Knott, the newest “Poster Girl” in Philippine athletics, said she is very happy to be mentioned along with former Asia’s sprint queen Lydia de Vega even before breaking the latter’s 33-year record in the 100-m dash during the 2020 Drake Blue Oval Showcase in Iowa last month.
“It’s an honor to have that record, I guess. But I’m not like getting it in the head because I still want to represent the country and become an Olympian,” added Knott during the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
A two-time gold medalist in the recent Southeast Asian Games in Manila, Knott said she is eyeing both the 100 and 200 in Tokyo.
“For the Olympics, I was just focused on trying to hit the qualifying standard for the 200. But right now, I see my potential so I am going to strive to hit both the 100 and 200 for the Olympics,” explained Knott, the 25-year-old champion who grew up in the United States with her Filipino mother from Imus, Cavite.
“But as I’ve said, I will not just go there but I want to make a statement by surviving and advancing in each round,” added Knott, who now holds the Philippine record for both the 100 meters and 200 meters.
Asked about her record-breaking performance in Des Moines, Iowa where she clocked 11.27 and shattered De Vega’s record of 11.28 established during the 1987 SEA Games, Knott said:
“It’a big honor for me to be compared to a legend like Lydia de Vega. I already met her in Singapore two years ago.”
“In Iowa, I was initially supposed to run 200 meters but there is a miscommunication with the person hosting the meet. So I ended up running at 100. I didn’t really have high expectations going into the run so I was really shocked to break the record and run that fast. I was excited. I just want to handle my business,” she recalled.
(Knott’s 11.27 was good enough for the silver medal behind Kayla White, who took the gold in 11.18 seconds).
Knott, who made her international debut for the Philippines during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta where she finished sixth, claimed she is doing everything she can to book a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.
“I try to join as many tournaments as possible here. It’s more convenient because I don’t have to travel. If competitions popped up in the US and If I’m capable and able to run, i will be running. Competing with people that are faster than me is what gonna help me to qualify for the Olympics,” explained Knott.
“The qualifying time is 11.15 in 100m and 22.80 in 200m. Right now I’m not too far off from them but then again, they all comes down to as many quality competitions that I get in.”
Knott admitted the current health crisis that forced most sports to shut down also affected her trainings and preparations.
“The biggest thing that kinda ruined (by COVID-19) was the competitions. Competing is a big part of my training, and I’m not really train to the ground over and over. I need as much competitions I need to get me ready for those big competitions. I’m think the cancellation of these big competitions kind of was a challenging part of pandemic.”
Added Knott: “But within the last couple of weeks, things are going back to normal. I’m still training in grass. I only go to the tracks once or twice a week and I have access to the gym where we just have to wear mask”
Knott noted the big difference in her now than when she first represented the country in the 2018 Asian Games.
“I would say I am more mentally prepared now. When i was in the Asian Games, I was a super amateur. So i don’t really know what i was given to as far the worldwide competitions and stuff like that,” she admitted.
“But I feel like I still have a lot left in the tank. I just need to compete to release thebeast in me.”