Fil-American Kristina Knott debuts on track at the Tokyo Olympics Monday morning when she competes in the women’s 200-meter heats at the Olympic Track Stadium.
Knott, who holds the national record in the event, is grouped in Heat 7 along with a personal best of 23.01 seconds and a season best of 23.17sec.
Also in the group are United States’ Jenna Prandini, Slovenia’s Maja Mihalinec Zidar, Gambia’s Gina Bass, Australia’s Riley Day and Netherlands Jamile Samuel.
Her group appears tough on paper with all her rivals ranked in the Top 40 in the world compared to her No. 113, but the Florida native is unfazed.
“I’m trying to get out of 23 seconds,” Knott said weeks leading to the competition.
“I no longer wanted to run 23 seconds. If it’s 22.90 or better, I’ll take it. Cause I’m tired of 23s.”
Knott added she’s not satisfied of “just being grateful and thankful” to be representing the country to the greatest sports show on earth.
“Of course, I’m happy and grateful to be here, but I’m not gonna settle for that. I have a job to do and that is to make it to the rounds,” she said.
Weeks before the Olympics, Knott tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated and not exhibiting any symptoms. She missed a couple of tuneup races, but she dwelled on her situation on a positive note.
“I was having foot issues, so being locked in a room for five days kinda helped my body to recover. They say something’s gonna force you to break in, so I think that’s it. I was able to rest during that isolation,” Knott said.
Knott hopes her goal to run sub-23 seconds will be enough to land her into the 24-player semifinals, and eventually the eight-player finals in the evening.
Apart from the strong field in her group, her event parades recently-crowned 100m gold medalist and reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica and 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands.