Unlike other Filipino athletes from abroad, who were sought out to become part of the Philippine national team, Kristina Knott was not recruited by local sports officials initially.
In her junior year in college, she reached out to fellow Filipino-American Eric Cray, a member of the Philippine national athletic team, and discussed the possibility of joining the Philippine team.
Born to Harold Knott and Rizalina Lamb who traces her roots to Imus, Cavite, KK, the nickname Kristina goes by, has always looked for ways to connect with her heritage. She said in a previous interview that she found the best way to learning about her culture was representing the Philippines which she began doing in the 2018 Asian Games.
Two years later, she will be bearing the Philippine colors in her athletic uniform in the Tokyo Olympics.
“I was excited and honored when I found out I was going to Tokyo” she revealed in an interview with Midlife Halftime.
“In college, I had thoughts of being an Olympian.”
College was at the Arkansas States University for her freshman and sophomore years whereas a sprinter, she emerged champion of the 2016 Sun Belt Outdoor in the 100 meters and 200 meters. She also finished a strong fourth in the long jump at the conference meet. She then moved to the University of Miami where she continued competing in the individual and relay events.
In the short span of time that Knott has represented the Philippines, she has surpassed expectations and has been on a record-breaking spree.
In the 30th Southeast Asian Games, she won two gold medals in the women’s 200 meters and the 4 x 100 meter mixed relay. She added two silvers to her haul in the women’s 100 meters and the 4 x 100-meter relay. She set the SEA Games record in the women’s 200 meters when she clocked 23.01 seconds in the finals, breaking the previous record she set in the same games during the heats.
At the Blue Oval Showcase, a one-day elite-level track and field competition held last August 29, 2020 at the Drake University in Iowa, USA, Knott reset one of the most revered and long-standing records in Philippine athletics. She bagged a silver in the women’s 100-meter sprint. Her time of 11.27 seconds broke the 33-year-old record of 11.28 seconds registered by the legendary Lydia De Vega in the 1987 SEA Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Knott’s road in getting ready for the Tokyo Olympics suffered a serious hurdle when she tested positive for Covid-19 as she was about to compete in the 2021 Karlstad Grand Prix in Sweden. This forced her to skip the event and another meet in Finland. Both events were critical components of her preparations for Tokyo.
“My positive Covid result briefly delayed my preparation only because I was locked in a room for five days straight.”
Now that she has made a full recovery, she is laser-focused on nothing else but the Olympics. “I am looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere and experiences of an Olympic athlete,” she said.
“Of course, I am looking forward to competing with the best as well.”
The best include two-time Olympic sprint gold medalist Shelly-Ann Frasier-Pryce of Jamaica and 200-meter Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion Allyson Felix of the United States, two stars Knott says she respects and she could end up racing against.
But the real competition for Knott will be her own self. “My goal is to break my personal record and break 23 seconds in the 200 meters,” Knott disclosed.
A time of under 23 seconds will be a new Southeast Asian record. It would also be a good gauge of Knott’s readiness for next year’s Asian Games. The previous winner, Odiong Edidiong of Bahrain, clocked 22.96 seconds to cop the gold in the 2018 Asian Games held in Indonesia.
Knott has already confirmed to Midlife Halftime that she will be joining both the SEA Games in Vietnam and the 2022 Asian Games in China, so this year’s Tokyo Olympics would be another step in her journey to become one of the most celebrated tracksters in Philippine athletic history.