Century dash queen relinquishes throne

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 19, 2017 03:26 PM
Century dash queen relinquishes throne
I don’t really want to say that I am giving it up, but this is not the event I have been training for -- Kayla Richardson

KUALA LUMPUR – Reigning Southeast Asian Games sprint queen Kayla Richardson relinquishes her crown in the women’s 100-meter run to focus on the 200-meter and relay events when the athletics competition of the 29th SEA Games gets going Tuesday at the KL Sports City here.

Richardson said she’s more comfortable competing in the 200-meter run as well as in the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays despite becoming the youngest century dash champion in the history of the biennial meet in 2015 in Singapore.

“I don’t really want to say that I am giving it up, 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.”

Richardson’s father, Jeffrey, said pulling his daughter out of the century dash is a logical move.

“The only reason Kayla is skipping the 100 is that she hasn’t run the race in over a year and her coach at USC wants to focus on the 200-meter race,” he said. “She is very capable of winning the gold in the 200.”

With the younger Richardson skipping the century sprint, she won’t see action until Wednesday where she is expected to go up against defending Singaporean champion Shanti Pereira, who ruled the race with a time of 23.60 seconds.

Kayla took the silver then in 23.71, although the father said that her daughter has done 23.45 “but that was with a slight tailwind. Her actual personal best is 23.65.”

Together with twin sibling Kyla, the elder Richardson added that the Richardsons would also be vying in the 4x100-meter women’s relays on Aug. 25 and the 4x400-meter relays the succeeding day.

The elder Richardson disclosed that the coaching staff decided “to frontload” the team, with Kat Santos as the starting runner, followed by Kayla and Kyla, respectively, 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 was confident about the 4x100-meter relay squad’s chances, adding that they had been practicing hand-offs of the baton 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. 

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