Even with Kristina Knott out, PH still likes sprint double chances
Kristina Knott won’t get the chance to defend her 200-meter sprint title in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, after a foot injury put her out of commission, with Kyla Richardson taking her place and making the Philippine Team coaching staff excited.
“Kristina won’t be joining us in Vietnam, but we are still positive that we can deliver in the 100m and 200m,’’ said athletics national head coach Geoffrey Chua, referring to the chances of Richardson in claiming a golden double judging from her recent performances where she clocked personal bests of 23.12 seconds in the 200m and 11.31 in the 100m.
“These clockings could win her (Richardson) the gold medals in both events,’’ said Chua.
Another thing going for Richardson is the absence of Vietnamese sprinter Le Tu Chinh, who is likewise out the race due to a hurting foot.
Chinh beat Knott by a hairline in 11.54 seconds to seize the gold medal in the women’s 100m during the 2019 SEA Games in New Clark City, before Knott exacted revenge by ruling the 200m in record-breaking fashion over Chinh in 23.01 seconds.
Richardson will team up with sister Kayla Richardson, Robyn Brown and Eloisa Luzon in the women’s 4x100m. Their quartet claimed the silver medal in 2019 behind Thailand.
Philippine athletics will likewise miss the Guermali brothers after both pulled out of their respective races.
Sa-id Guermali’s injury won’t heal in time for the men’s 1500m race in Hanoi while Yacine begged off due to a conflict with his school timetable.
Still, Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico is convinced that the team remains on track to bring home eight to 11 gold medals from Vietnam.
Meanwhile, Team Philippines chef de mission (CDM) Ramon Fernandez arrived in Hanoi on Sunday with deputy CDMs Pearl Managuelod and Carl Sambrano along with key personnel from the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Teams from football, beach handball and kickboxing left for Vietnam on Monday to kick off their respective campaigns a week before the Opening Ceremonies on May 12, while the national diving team will fly to Hanoi this week in time for its May 8 competition.
Fernandez attended the delegation registration meeting on Monday where the final list of entries of Team Philippines was confirmed.