Sport: Marshalls teen to make senior sprinting debut

10:39 am on 19 March 2016

The Marshall Islands sprinter Mariana Cress will compete on her biggest stage yet at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon this weekend.

The 17 year-old was born and raised in the United States but said it was a blessing and a privilege to represent the Pacific nation where her father, 2008 Olympic sprinter Roman Cress, was born.

Marshall Islands sprinter Mariana Cress.

Marshall Islands sprinter Mariana Cress. Photo: Supplied

She ran the 100m at last year's World Youth Champs in Colombia and says the 200m is her favourite event.

Sunday morning she'll line up in the 60m heats and wants to improve on her personal best time of 8.50 seconds.

"I'm a little confident. I've been training hard - I'm hoping I could do better but I know I haven't been training as hard as I should so hopefully just after that, at other track meets I compete in, it will gradually get better" she said.

Mariana Cress said her asthma makes indoor events more challenging for her because the dry air makes it harder to breathe.

10 other Pacific athletes are competing at the Indoor Champs, including Samoan sprinter Jeremy Dodson, Zarinae Sapong from the Northern Marianas and Christina Francisco from Guam.