Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson boosted by the support of her sponsors Grace Kennedy Money Services, Rainforest Seafoods and National Bakery was in devastating form at the 2016 FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup tour stop in Doha which ran from Oct 8 to 9. Alia, who competed in the Hamad Aquatic Center in Al Aziziyah, Doha, Qatar brought the heat when she won the 50 metre breaststroke in 28.98.
That win saw her just missing the World Record of 28.80 set by American Jessica Hardy in 2009. It also bettered her own World Leading time of 29.00 set at the Berlin stop of the tour in Berlin. It will also stand as the 3rd fastest time of her career just missing her national record of 28.91 that she set at the 2014 World short Course Championships when she won the Silver medal. At the end of the competition in Doha with 36 events completed across all events her 50 metre breaststroke win was adjudged the best female performance according to the FINA points system. Atkinson’s swim was ranked number one with 981 points which was also better than the top male performance of the tour which was 965 FINA points. Her win also extended her win streak in Doha.
Rivals Russian Yulia Efimova and American Katie Meili finished with the Silver and Bronze medal with times of 29.27 and 29.78 respectively.
She would complete the sprint double when won the 100 metre event in 1:03.18. It marked the best performance by Atkinson in the 25 metre pool in Doha. Alia has never finished lower than 2nd in the event since joining the World Cup tour in 2013.
The Jamaican withheld a late charge from Efimova who was timed in 1:03.27 for the Silver medal. Meili won the Bronze in 1:03.90.
Her medal exploits would also extend to the 100 metre individual medley where she won the Bronze in a time of 1:00.51.
The national record of 24.65 in the 50 metre freestyle was put on notice when Alia touched in 5th in the Championship final with a time of 24.88. That was the 2nd fastest time of Alia’s career.
She would also make championship finals in both the 50 metre backstroke and 50 metre butterfly. In the backstroke event she placed 4th in a time of 28.19 just off her season best of 28.10 .Atkinson maintained that place in the butterfly race where hot the pads in 26.36.
When asked about her performance in Doha Alia had the following thoughts
“Doha went pretty well as I was going after the world record. I want to keep getting faster as I go through the World Cup series. I have three more chances in the next cluster. There was a great cheer from the Doha crowd when I walked out which relaxed me and put everything in perspective”