Sport: Marshalls sprinter sets sights on the Rio Olympics

12:32 pm on 22 March 2016

After competing at her first senior world championships, the Marshall Islands sprinter Mariana Cress is setting her sights even higher.

Marshall Islands sprinter Mariana Cress.

Marshall Islands sprinter Mariana Cress. Photo: Supplied

The 17 year old ran a season best time of 8.51 seconds in the 60m event at the World Indoor Athletics Champs in Portland, Oregon at the weekend, just one hundreth of a second off her personal best time.

She was born and raised in Minnesota, in the United States, but said it was a blessing and privilege to represent the country in which her father, 2008 Olympian Roman Cress, was born.

Mariana Cress said she plans to spend the next few months working toward her goal of qualifying for the Rio Olympics.

"Just extra hard training. School always comes first so it's going to be hard balancing with both of those but I'm just going to work hard and pray that the Marshall Islands just confirm me to get sent to Rio," she said.

"I think I'm one of the only females that's really running out there (from the Marshall Islands) but someone might come up - you never know. Stuff happens so I'm just praying that I stay in that spot to go to Rio."

Mariana Cress said the Marshall Islands is expected to send one male and one female athlete to the Summer Olympic Games later this year.