THE Philippines eyes the podium in the women’s relays this time with the Richardson twins Kayla and Kyla running in both the 4x100 and 4x400 in the 29th SEA Games at the Kuala Lumpur Sports City.
Reigning Southeast Asian Games sprint queen Kayla Richardson earlier announced she is not defending the women’s 100 as she focuses on the 200 and the relays.
The 4x100 fires off Aug. 25 and the 4x400 the next day. The Philippines missed the poium in both races in the 2015 Singapore Games.
Jeffrey Richardson, the twins’ father, disclosed that the coaching staff decided “to frontload” the team, with Kat Santos as the starting runner followed by Kayla and Kyla, and either Eloisa Luzon or Filipino-American Zion Rose Nelson as the anchor.
“Kat Santos ran a strong first leg in Singapore two years ago while it will be Kayla then Kyla. I am not sure about the anchor runner,” he said. “We want to give our team a strong headstart.”
Kayla said she is confident about the 4x100-meter relay squad’s chances, adding they practiced hand-offs for five straight days at the Philsports oval in Pasig City before they got here.
“I am not so sure about our chances in the 4x400 relays, but we will give it our best shot,” she said.
Kayla at 17 became the youngest century dash champion in the history of the biennial meet in 2015 in Singapore, but said in KL she’s more comfortable competing in the 200-meter run, where she bagged silver two years ago.
“I don’t really want to say that I am giving it up (100m), but this is not the event I have been training for,” said the University of Southern California (USC) freshman. “I will also be running in the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays.”
Jeffrey Richardson revealed “hasn’t run the race in over a year and her coach at USC wants to focus on the 200-meter race.”
“She is very capable of winning the gold in the 200,” Jeffrey added, noting Kayla has done 23.45 with a slight tailwind and her actual personal best is 23.65.
Richardson is expected to go up against defending Singaporean champion Shanti Pereira, who ruled the race with a time of 23.60 seconds two years ago.