Signed, Sealed ,Delivered!! Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson finally captures the 50 metre breaststroke World Title at the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in Hangzhou China. Atkinson won the event in which she set the world record this season in a time of 29.05.Somewhat fittingly she would the take title from her rival in the early years of the FINA World Cup Tour Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte and the woman who denied her the Gold twice in 2012 and 2014 .
The race itself saw the European taking the lead from the start with a reaction time of 0.60 to Atkinson’s 0.62. On the two occasions that the two ladies battled for the World Title in the 50 metre breaststroke Ruta had the faster reaction time and won the race .
Analysis of Reaction times in Championship finals
|World champs 2012 Turkey||0.61||0.66|
|World Champs 2014 Qatar||0.60||0.66|
The story would not be the same in China as Alia put on another display of excellent underwater work at the 25 metre mark to pull away and win her first global title in the 50 metre breaststroke in 29.05. Ruta won the Silver in 29.38. Italy’s Martina Carraro won the Bronze in 29.59.
In the words of Jamaican superstar Buju Banton “It is not an easy road many see the glammer and glitter so dem tink a bed of rose”. The path to Gold has not been easy and has been one where she has overcome many struggles since her debut at the 2004 Indianapolis Championships to earn the title as the fastest sprint breaststroker in the world
THE ROAD TO GOLD
|World champs 2004 Athens||33.17||17th|
|World Champs 2010 United Arab Emirates||30.22||Sixth|
|World champs 2012 Turkey||29.67||Silver|
|World Champs 2014 Qatar||28.91||Silver|
|World Champs 2016 Canada||29.11||Silver|
|World Champs 2018 China||29.05||Gold|
Now taking Command of the 50 metre breaststroke she has charted a new course for the region’s swimmers to follow. Atkinson now has the most medals for either men or women from the CCCAN at the World Short Course swimming Championships with eight to her name.
No other woman has won as many medals as Atkinson in the event as she now has four medals. Ruta trails her on that medal count with three. She is also tied with South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh and the Ukraine’s Oleh Lisohor as all time top medallists in World Championships history in the event.
DATE WITH DESTINY
Alia is half way en route to Matching Cuba’s Rodolfo Falcón who won World Championships backstroke sprint Gold in the 50 and 100 metres at the 1999 Hong Kong Championships. With her current form and mindset forged by the steel of many tough Championships it would be hard to bet against her doing the Golden Double in the breaststroke sprint events.
Alia’s coach and coach of the Jamaican delegation Chris Anderson had the following thoughts about her historic win shortly after the race
‘It was a sweet swim by Alia Atkinson. The 50 metre breaststroke has always been a difficult race to start off the World Championships. By having a great turn and solid finish I think it is really going to build confidence for the 100 metre breaststroke. Great swim for her and looking forward to more swimming at Worlds”
Team Leader Dr Brian James spoke to draftingthecaribbean about Alia’s impact “All the swimmers in Hangzhou appear to really love her. When her name is called there is a resounding cheer and everyone is encouraging her and pushing her to do her best.At the training venue people come up to her all the time, all the swimmers from all the countries not confined to to the Caribbean islands everyone loves Alia”.
Jamaica and the CCCAN region’s once in a generation athlete Alia Atkinson promises to deliver more in China as the competition continues.