PH's new sprint queen: Kristina Knott sets SEA Games record in 200m run

Knott's speed on display in setting 200m mark (2:02)

Kristana Knott fell just 0.21 seconds shy of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics. (2:02)

CAPAS, Tarlac - A record night sealed the Philippines' fate in the second day of the athletics meet of the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the NCC Athletics Stadium here.

Two SEA Games records were obliterated by Filipinos, which were enough to add to the deluge of gold medals in the overall tally.

Filipino-American Kristina Knott broke the Philippine record for the women's 200m sprint twice Sunday.

In the morning heats, the 24-year-old became the Filipina standard by clocking in 23.07 seconds, and managed to improve to 23.01 ticks in the main event.

Though she nabbed gold in her inaugural stint in the biennial meet, Knott has her eyes set for the bigger picture: the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"I have until June to make it. It's less than a year but I'm going back to training after this. Hopefully, I can train somewhere magnificent," said Knott.


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For her coach, Rohsaan Griffin, Knott has the tools to make it to the Summer Olympics and surpass the 22.80 qualifying mark by the June 29, 2020 deadline.

"We wanted to get the Olympic standard, we fell kinda short, but let's see if how she gets, since she's capable of getting it. It's late in the season," said the retired American sprinter. "No other countries in the world are competing right now. That's a plus for us for doing it late in the season. We're just looking to making that standard and getting to Tokyo."

It was sweet vindication for pole vaulter EJ Obiena, who has finally won gold in his third SEA Games appearance.

Obiena's win also is the first Filipino gold medal in pole vaulting since Edward Lasquete won in 1995.

Obiena had become the new yardstick of the SEA Games pole vault, clearing 5.45m, 100cm better than the previous record holder, Porranot Purahong, who set the record in the 2017 edition.

The Tokyo-bound Obiena could have called 2017 annus horribilis as his custom-made poles broke while in a flight home to Manila. What's worse is that he tore his ACL months later, just weeks before the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

"I've been aiming for this for since 2015. Finally! It couldn't have come any better. My first gold in SEA Games. Having a hell of a year," said Obiena, whose personal best is 5.81m.

"Winning an Asian medal and now a SEA Games medal. I can say that I'm vindicated finally."

Rounding out the successful night was a third-place finish by the 4x400m mixed gender relay team of Reymond Alferos, Maureen Schrijvers, Robyn Brown, and Edgardo Alejan, Jr, who finished the relay at 3:26.95.

The Vietnamese quartet of Thi Hang Nguyen, Thi Lan Quach, Nhat Hoang and Dinh Son Tran at 3:19.50.

Thailand's Pratchaya Prapas, Arisa Weruwanarak, Chinenye Onuorah, and Pipatporn Paungpi followed at 3:26.09.

Richard Salano, who was in the running for the podium of the men's 10,000m sprint, lagged in the final laps and ended sixth at 32:47.91. Thai Kieran Tuntivate led the pack at 3-:19.28.

Sapwaturrahman of Indonesia bagged the gold of the men's long jump with an 8.03 finish, just 0.1 ahead of Andre Anura of Malaysia. Suttisak Singkhon was third at 7.89.

Action continues Sunday.