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Kristina Knott got needed break in COVID-19 scare says coach

Kristina Knott's COVID-19 situation turned out to be a blessing in disguise for her team. Times of SEA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Just as the good news went across the Philippine shores on June 23, then came the bad news.

Moments after Kristina Knott's participation in the Tokyo Olympics was confirmed, athletics president Philip Juico confirmed that she was tested positive for COVID-19 while she was competing in the United States.

This despite completing her vaccination, making her a "breakthrough case".

Prior to that, Knott had been active in gearing up for her Olympic run.

"It was at a time that, honestly, we did need rest. We were running quite often. We were running every other day competitively," Coach Rohsaan Griffin bared on Thursday night when he and the rest of Knott's team found out about her health status.

Upon confirming the positive COVID-19 test result, Knott's team had to live through it.

"In the age of COVID, it's part of the course. We have no control over the variables of what's gonna happen. We just have to be vigilant, and we can't upend out plans just because we got thrown a curveball," Griffin continued.

He added, "Sometimes, you have to adjust. You can't always stick to what's on the paper. That's been us for the past 18 months, so we just go with it."

As it turns out, however, according to Griffin, it was a blessing in disguise for his prized student, who was asymptomatic when she caught COVID-19 and quickly recovered.

"We took the rest that we needed, and I think it was a blessing because when we restarted, we came back differently. We came back refreshed and more focused. We didn't have the pressure of saying, 'Hey! Now we have to go out there, chase points, and try to qualify for the Olympics,'" he further said.

He added that Knott getting the qualification through the universality quota further eased some pressure of racking up the needed points to enter the Tokyo Olympics.

"It changed how we approached the situation, so I think that helped us more," Griffin continued.

He added that prior to the COVID-19 scare, the longest break they had lasted for only four days.

Griffin then lauded Knott for staying the course despite contracting the dreaded virus.

"I think she does a very very good job of adjusting to whatever comes her way, and I have to be the person that permeates. If she sees me panic, then obviously she's going to panic, so I have to keep a cool head and not let things shake me so that they don't shake her. That situation was a testament to how we handle adversity," he further said.

Griffin then expressed optimism on Knott's bid as she competes in the women's 200-meter race of the Tokyo Olympics.

"We're going to be OK," he further said.

Knott's campaign begins with the first round heats at 9:30 a.m. of Aug. 2 (Philippine Time).

The semifinals are scheduled later in the day at 6:25 p.m. with the final scheduled for Aug. 3 at 8:50 p.m. (both in Philippine Time).

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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