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Knott and Watanabe join other PH bets at the Tokyo Games

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Kristina Marie Knott. RESEARCH FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Kristina Knott and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe received their spots for the Tokyo Olympics that will begin in less than a month, but the Filipino-American sprinter’s preparations hit a snag Wednesday after her team learned of who tested positive for COVID-19. and he would have to be isolated for five days in Sweden.

Rohsaan Griffin, Knott’s speed coach, said testing positive for the virus has forced her protégé into solitary sanitary confinement in Karlstad, where they received word that the women’s 200-meter champion at the Southeast Asian Games qualified for Tokyo. through the rule of universality.

“Physically, she is not affected, so it will not affect our overall preparation. I’m more worried about her mentally. Now I’m worried about her as a person and not as an athlete, ” said Griffin, who drove for three hours and had lunch with Knott and hurdler Eric Cray before the Knott result came out.

Others test negative

Watanabe, a Filipino-Japanese who claimed a silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games, won an Olympic spot through a continental quota at women’s middleweight (63 kg).

Ranked No. 41 in her division, the 24-year-old from Mandaue City, Cebu, is one of six to earn continental quotas.

According to the International Judo Federation website, two continental quotas were awarded in Asia in the Watanabe weight class and Farangiz Khojieva from Uzbekistan received the other place.

Watanabe is a four-time gold medalist at the Southeast Asian Games.

The tests of Cray, who hopes to run in another qualifying match in the men’s 400m hurdles on Sunday in Finland, and Griffin came back negative. Knott was not allowed to run at his pet event in Karlstad.

Delta variant?

Knott was inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine earlier this month, and her team has no idea where she may have gotten the virus. But Griffin suspects he caught the Delta variant, which was first detected in India and is now prevalent in Europe.

“First, it has to be cleared after five days of confinement and removed from here. We want to get back to the task of preparing her for Tokyo, ” Griffin said.

With his current situation, Knott will have to forfeit another tournament Sunday in Finland and head to Florida before traveling to Austin, Texas, for another round of health protocols before his flight to Tokyo on July 18.

When asked about Knott’s medal chances at the Olympics, Griffin said: “Anything can happen. [in the Olympics]. This has been plotted for the past 18 months. ”

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