Miss Alia Atkinson will formally be conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander on Jamaica’s Heroes Day from Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, at King’s House tomorrow October 15. She is being recognized for outstanding representation of Jamaica in the field of swimming and being the first black woman to win a World Championships Title.
The sport of swimming will also be represented tomorrow by veteran swim Coach John Lopez who will be awarded the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Officer for his contribution to disability and paraplegic sports.Mr Lopez founded the Marlin Swim Club in 1959, and started a swimming programme at the Mona Rehabilitation Centre (now Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre) in 1963.
Alia covered herself in more glory by lowering her own world record in the 50 metre breaststroke ( 25 metre pool ) to 28.56 on October 6. With that record Atkinson extends her lead in having the most world record swims from the region. Also on this list are Olympians George Bovell III and Martinique’s Coralie Balmy.
|George Bovell III||Trinidad and Tobago||200 metre IM (scm)||1:53.93||March 25,2004||East Meadow NY USA|
|Coralie Balmy||Martinique/France||200 metre freestyle (scm)||1:53.18||December 6,2008||Angers,France|
|Alia Atkinson||Jamaica||100 metre breaststroke (scm)||1:02.36||December 2,2014||Doha, Qatar|
|Alia Atkinson||Jamaica||100 metre breaststroke (scm)||1:02.36||August 26,2016||Chartes,France|
|Alia Atkinson||Jamaica||50 metre breaststroke (scm)||28.64||October 26,2016||Tokyo,Japan|
|Alia Atkinson||Jamaica||50 metre breaststroke (scm)||28.56||October 6,2018||Budapest ,Hungary|
Maureen Croes ,General Secretary of CCCAN , the regional governing body for swimming had the following thoughts on Atkinson’s World Record.
“Another very positive result for our region. Very proud to see Alia’s hard work and determination pay of and bring her in the well deserved spotlight. I hope that her story can bring excitement to our entire region, for the athletes, for our sport as a whole and maybe even for the administrators, leaders and coaches to see that it is possible to compete on the World stage”.
The President of the St. Lucia Amateur Swimming Association, Eddie Hazell also offered congratulations and spoke of Alia’s impact on the region
“We in St.Lucia are elated at the success and achievements of Alia. She is well known to quite a few of our swimmers who has had the honor of both speaking too and receiving words of encouragement from her. Not surprising, her personal journey now acts as an inspiration to many of our competitive swimmers. St. Lucia Amateur Swimming Association extends congratulations to Alia on such a superb performance. We stand with you in pursuit of your goals and wishes you all the best. Thank you Miss Atkinson – you are a true inspiration to all”.
Words of praise also came from the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago through its Public Relations Officer Jason Wickham
“On behalf of the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago we would like to extend our congratulations to Alia Atkinson on the establishment of a new world record. Alia has been flying the flag of Jamaica and the entire region for a number of years and this is testament to the hard work she has put in. She continues to bring glory to the Caribbean. Coming from this and the success of Caribbean athletes on the world stage including our Dylan Carter that there will be a region wide mentor ship initiative from our seasoned athletes so that will continue producing top class athletes that will excel on the global stage”.
President of the Bahamas Aquatics Federation Algernon Cargill also lauded Atkinson
“The Caribbean has produced many firsts in sports certainly we know about all the successes in track and field and swimming has been producing the same level of outstanding results. The Bahamas Aquatics Federation extends sincere congratulations to Alia Atkinson and our friends in the ASAJ on Alia’s outstanding world record. She has demonstrated that aquatic sports in the Caribbean is among the best in the world.Not only because of Alia’s outstanding swim in the breaststroke but moreso because we are always overshadowed by the results of track and field. Alia has broken through and again has set another world record .Her performance in the 50 metre breaststroke will be an example for many Caribbean swimmers to emulate in the future. What is outstanding is that she is achieving these results in the latter stages of her career and she has demonstrated that when you continue to work hard and compete clean that you will be blessed with outstanding results.The Bahamas Aquatics Federation recognizes that Alia’s started during her CARIFTA years and continued during her college career and of course the The World Championships and Olympic Games.She has continued to work hard and her diversity in swimming other events positions for an outstanding performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.So we congratulate Alia and wish her well and continue to pray that she will continue to represent the Caribbean of course Jamaica at the high standard as she has always done”.
King’s House serves both as the official residence of the Jamaican Head of State and as a Department of Government.