Alia Atkinson wins gold at FINA World Cup in Doha
JAMAICA'S Alia Atkinson kicked off her 2014/2015 FINA World Cup campaign with a master class in breaststroke sprinting, when she won the 100m in Doha, Qatar.
Swimming from lane four at FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup, Atkinson had a bullet start with a reaction time of 0.69 seconds.
By the time she turned at the first wall she already had a body length lead. At the half-way mark her split was 30.18 seconds and she was more than half a second ahead of American Breeja Larson. She also "educated" the field on back-end speed as she clocked the fastest second 50 metres with a time of 33.61 seconds to win comfortably in a time of 1:03.79. Some distance behind was Larson, who touched in at 1:05.06, and third was Hrafnhildur Luthersdottir of Iceland with 1:06.88
In Doha last year Atkinson had won in 1:03.38. She holds the fastest time for this event in breaststroke for a Jamaican male or female, whether it is in a 25-metre pool, 50-metre pool or 25-yard pool. The impressive Atkinson will be in action today in Qatar in the 50-metre breaststroke and the 100-metre individual medley.
She will be in for a stern test in the medley race as she takes on top-seeded Iron Queen Katinka Hosszu of Hungary. On the first day in Doha, Hosszu won the 200 individual medley in 2:02.61 world record, the 200 freestyle in 1:51.41 meet record, 50 backstroke in 26.18 and the 200 backstroke in 2:01.60.
George Bovell added to the Caribbean treasure chest when he took the men's 100 individual medley in an equally comfortable win. After trailing the first two legs of the medley, the butterfly and the backstroke, he turned on the speed.
He capitalised on his known breaststroke and freestyle sprint abilities as he stroked past early leader Bobby Hurley of Australia with the fastest second 50 of 28.25 to win overall in 52.80 seconds.
Winning silver was Leith Shankland of Australia in 53.77, and the bronze was won by Mark Spitzer of Austria in 54.77. Earlier in the day Bovell missed the final with his 50-metre breaststroke heats time of 27.51 where he finished 10th overall.
The World Cup Series of Meets, which is similar to the IAAF Diamond League Series, will be held in Doha, Dubai - Cluster 1; Hong Kong, Moscow, - Cluster 2; Tokyo and Singapore - Cluster 3.
-- Anthony Morrison-Vincent