Kristina Knott, Kiyomi Watanabe seal Tokyo Olympics spots

Published June 23, 2021, 12:54 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Kristina Knott (left) and Kiyomi Watanabe

Sprinter Kristina Knott and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe became the latest Filipino athletes to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to start exactly 30 days from now.

According to worldathletics.org, Knott earned a berth through universality place in the women’s 200 meters while Watanabe got the ticket in the women’s half-middleweight (63kg) through Continental Quota based from the International Judo Federation website.

The country now has 15 athletes qualified to the Games, already exceeding the previous delegation of 13 qualifiers at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Aside from Knott, three others were given universality places in their event namely Gudbjorg Jona Bjarnadottir of Iceland, Lucia Moris of South Sudan and Veronica Shanti Pereira of Singapore.

Knott, a Fil-American, boasts of two gold medals at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games including in the women’s 200m where she posted a national and SEAG record of 23.01 seconds.

Her personal best is close to the Olympic entry standard of 22.80sec. Her current season best is at 23.17sec she made at a race in Baton Rouge, Louisiana last April.

Meanwhile, two Continental Quotas were given in Asia in Watanabe’s weight class with the other slot being given to Uzbekistan’s Farangiz Khojieva.

So far, there are 18 qualifiers in Watanabe’s division based on the world rankings list and seven Continental Quotas.

Watanabe, a Fil-Japanese who won a silver medal in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, is currently ranked No. 41 in her division.

Knott and Watanabe joined fellow Filipino qualifiers pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Elreen Ando, boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Irish Magno, golfer Juvic Pagunsan, rower Cris Nievarez, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa, shooter Jayson Valdez, and skateboarder Margielyn Didal.

More athletes are still expected to earn berths particularly in swimming and golf.

 
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