FILIPINO-American Kristina Knott proved that she is the heir apparent to legendary sprint queen Lydia de Vega by coming up with a record-breaking performance yesterday (Saturday in the US) at the Drake Blue Oval Showcase inside the Drake University campus in Des Moines, Iowa.
The 30th Southeast Asian Games double gold medalist nearly upset noted American sprinter Kayla White, settling for runner-up honors with a time of 11.27 seconds and resetting the 33-year-old mark of 11.28 seconds set by De Vega in the 1987 Jakarta SEA Games.
White, who holds a world-class time of 22.82 seconds in the 200 meters, scrambled from behind to win in 11.18 seconds while Rio Olympics women’s long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta was third in 11.44 seconds, according to pinoyathletic.info.
White, a Miami native like Knott, trailed nearly halfway through the race before surging past the Fil-am runner in the blue-ribbon meet that also featured Rio Olympic men’s shot put champion Ryan Crouser and Rio women’s 400-meter gold medalist Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas.
“Kristina’s performance is truly a great achievement and validates all the time, effort and resources we have devoted to this mission,” said Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico, who chatted with Knott and American consultant Roshaan Griffin after the sprinter’s outing.
Juico said Griffin informed him that the athlete was originally set to see action in the 200-meter race but “was not given a slot since the field was packed with sub-23 second runners.”
Known for her fighting spirit, the former University of Miami track ace shrugged off her disappointment and poured it on in the century dash, coming within a whisker of the 100-meter Olympic qualifying time of 11.15 seconds and boosting her prospects of competing in the sprint double in the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.
Knott set a new SEA Games and national record of 23.01 seconds in ruling the women’s 200-meter run in the 30th SEA Games last December at the New Clark City Athletic Stadium in Capas, Tarlac, slightly outside the Olympic cut of 22.80 seconds.
As she continues to improve, the sprinter can duplicate De Vega’s feat of vying in both the 100 and 200-meter runs in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Griffin was confident the athlete is capable of doing that.
“We will definitely be in Tokyo, hopefully in two events instead of one,” said Griffin in a message to Malaya-Business Insight.