On Saturday Dec 10, 2016 Alia Atkinson gave herself an early birthday present by winning a historic 100 metre breaststroke Gold medal that brought more pride to Jamaica, the CARIFTA region and the wider Caribbean.
The 13th edition of the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor Canada we saw effect of Atkinson’s excellent underwater work at each turn to lead the race from start to finish. She resisted at late charge from eventual Silver medallist American Lilly King to beat her to the wall but the work was already done. She would have the fastest splits for both 50’s of 29.82 and 33.21 to take defend her World title in a time of 1:03.03. Lilly would win the Silver in 1:03.35. Her compatriot Molly Hannis would take the Bronze in 1:03.89.
The journey to becoming a Double World Champion in the event was not easy and sure. In her foray at these World Championships in 2004 in the United States she finished 19th .But with hard work and determination she moved her way to the top of her sport which other swimmers from the region can use as inspiration for their goals in the sport. Her journey at the these World Championships are seen below
|2016||Windsor||100 metre breaststroke||1:03.03||Gold|
|2014||Doha||100 metre breaststroke||1:02.36||Gold|
|2012||Turkey||100 metre breaststroke||1:03.80||Silver|
|2010||Dubai||100 metre breaststroke||1:06.05||9th|
|2004||Indianapolis||100 metre breaststroke||1:12.12||19th|
Atkinson’s Gold medal was historic for a number of reasons. Firstly she becomes the first woman to defend the 100 metre breaststroke title. She also ties Australian Jade Edmistone as the only woman to win 3 medals in this event at the World Championships. Alia extends her records as the most decorated swimmer from the English speaking Caribbean. Atkinson also is the most decorated female swimmer from the Caribbean. With the win in the 100 metre breaststroke she ties legendary Cuban backstroker Rodolfo Falcón for the most medals at the World short Course Swimming championships with 7.
General Secretary of CCCAN Maureen Croes had the following thoughts about Atkinson’s achievement
“It was the most wonderful feeling seeing Alia race and dominate. Watching that smile on the screen showed such genuine happiness. And then to have (Canadian Olympian) Ryan Cochrane say that Alia is probably the nicest swimmer in the world just made it perfect. It is the story of persistence, incredibly hard work against many odds. Just absolutely wonderful, and a TRUE role model and example for all of the Caribbean swimmers”.
Happy Birthday Alia Atkinson and Congratulations.