THE Philippine track and field team will have one less potential gold medal come the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam starting next week.
Sprint queen Kristina Knott won’t be back to defend the 200-meter gold after suffering a plantar fasciitis tear on her left foot.
The unfortunate development was announced by Knott and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) in a virtual presser on Monday, about two weeks before athletics competitions in the biennial meet kick off at the My Dinh National Stadium on May 14.
Knott said her team decided to skip the SEA Games and instead, recover and prepare for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China and the World Championships in Oregon.
“I’ll be out for two weeks, and that will be leading into the SEA Games. We made the decision to pull out and recover so that I can be ready for the Asian Games and the World Championships,” said the 26-year-old Fil-Am runner.
Knott revealed the injury was first detected last January after undergoing MRI test, and a tear was eventually found when she had a second test later on.
“I’m disappointed. I cried about it,” she said. “Now I’m done crying about it, let it heal, and come back stronger.”
Knott smashed the SEA Games record in the 2019 edition of the meet at the New Clark City Stadium with a clocking of 23.01 seconds, and erasing the previous mark of 23.30 seconds owned by Supavadee Khawpeag registered in the 2001 Games in Kuala Lumpur.
She likewise toppled the national record in the same event by eclipsing the 33-year-old mark owned by the legendary Lydia De Vega Mercado set in 1986 yet.
Aside from the 200-meter dash, Knott also won a gold in the 4x100 mixed relay event as part of the team that included hurdles gold medal winner Eric Cray, Anfernee Lopena, and Eloiza Luzon.
She also bagged a pair of silver medals in the women’s 100-meter sprint and with the women’s 4x100 meter relay along with the Richardson siblings Kayla and Kyla, and Zion Nelson.
The two golds by Knott were part of the 11-gold haul by the Filipino tracksters three years ago, where they finished third behind track champion Vietnam (16 golds) and Thailand (12).
The absence of Knott is definitely a blow to the country’s campaign, although Patafa president Philip Ella Juico remained upbeat about the rest of the tracksters doing good in Hanoi.
“We will still be formidable, competitive, and we’ll have a good fight,” he said.
“That’s part (injury) of the sport. We just have to deal with it,” added Juico. “One thing that stands out to us Filipinos is we’re able to improvise and improvise well.”
Knott added that if she’s not healthy enough yet for the world meet in July, chances are she’ll just focus on suiting up for the country in the Asiad set this September.
“We don’t want to rush things. The goal is to win in the Asian Games,” she said, adding the possibility of competing in the 200 and 400 meters, respectively, in the Asiad.