Richardsons gear up for Rio Olympics bid
After crowning herself the fastest woman in Southeast Asia, Kayla Anise Richardson is now gearing up for a possible stint in the Olympics this year in Rio de Janeiro.
The Filipino-American sprinter and her twin sister Kyla have reportedly made good progress in their bid to compete in the Summer Games on June 5 to 21, according to their father-coach Jeff Richardson.
In an overseas phone call last week, the elder Richardson told track and field chief Philip Ella Juico that his daughters are on track to improve on their personal bests in the century dash, 200-meter and 400m runs.
Juico said Richardson is optimistic that Kayla, who bagged the women’s 100m gold in the Singapore Southeast Asian Games last year, would be able to qualify in both the 100m and 200m.
He said the 17-year-old track ace from California has improved to 11.65 seconds in the 100m and to 23.60 in the 200m. The Olympic qualifying time in the women’s 100m is 11.29 while the standard in the 200m is 23.20.
Kayla clocked 11.76 for the gold in the SEA Games, breaking the country’s string of defeats in the 100m since 1989, when Lydia De Vega-Mercado triumphed in 1989 in Kuala Lumpur.
De Vega still holds the SEA Games record of 11.28 which she set in 1987 in Jakarta. Now based in Singapore, De Vega was also 17 when she claimed her first SEA Games gold in the 100m in the 1981 Manila edition.
De Vega owns the distinction as the only Filipino to qualify in both the 100m and 200m in the Olympics, having vied in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Juico also said Richardson discussed the possibility of fielding a Philippine team in the women’s 4x100m relay in the Olympic qualifiers with a quartet that includes the Richardson siblings, Filipino-Canadian Zion Corrales-Nelson and another runner.
Nelson, a 17-year-old from Burnaby, British Columbia, drew the attention of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association recently after she obtained a rare track scholarship from the University of Southern California.
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