Sprinter Kristina Knott aims high in maiden Olympic stint

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 1) – A resilient Kristina Knott is ready for the biggest run of her young career.

The Filipino American sprinter, whose performance inside the track led her to break the decades-old national records in the 200-meter and 100-meter runs, promised to go all out in her maiden Olympic stint.

"I'm happy and grateful to be here, but I'm not gonna settle for that. We have a job to do," said Knott in a recent press conference organized by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association.

Knott qualified for the Tokyo Games last June 23 after clinching a universality place in the women's 200-meter run.

"It's championship time. At this point, I just have to give everything I have and everything I've worked for. Hopefully, it will show in the competition," she added.

In a previous interview with CNN Philippines days after she officially qualified for the Olympics, Knott said she can breach the 23-second mark in her 200-meter qualifying heat on Monday at 10:18 a.m. Philippine time.

"It's super doable. I feel it's going to happen in Tokyo. I consider myself an underdog, we might show up and show out. The goal is to make it to each round," declared Knott.

RELATED: Knott confident of breaking 23-second barrier in Tokyo Olympics

Roshaan Griffin, the coach of Knott, expects the 25-year-old sprint queen to advance to the semifinals, as they stick to the game plan of keeping pace with the world's best female sprinters.

"I want her to go out there and for me, with her best effort, I know we can advance to the semifinals and from there, we just have to take it as it comes," said Griffin in another PATAFA presser.

Overcoming health setbacks

A month before her Olympic debut, Knott suffered two major health setbacks that could have greatly affected her run. Hours after her Olympic slot was confirmed, she tested positive for COVID-19 while battling a foot injury she incurred in her training in Sweden.

However, Knott pointed out that her COVID-19 bout, which required self-isolation for five days, helped her to recover and to regain her strength ahead of the Olympics.

"Being locked in a room for five days helped my body to recover. That was the blessing of me getting COVID-19 and I was able to rest and recover," said Knott.

Griffin said the COVID-19 scare hardly affected Knott’s physical and mental mindset for her Olympic debut.

"She's a survivor. She has persevered over the worst that can get thrown at us. This should be a cakewalk opposed to the fact that it's the biggest stage in the world," said Griffin.

Knott spent her final Olympic preparations in Nagasaki before flying to Tokyo.