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They made a difference

Jamaica’s non-track and field athletes brought joy without medals

BY PAUL A REID Observer Writer

Sunday, August 28, 2016

David Weller’s 1980 cycling bronze medal is still the only medal won by Jamaica at the Olympics Games outside of track athletics despite hopes going into the Rio Games that at least one medal would be a possibility.

Jamaica had four athletes in three other disciplines other than athletics, with swimmers Alia Atkinson (in her fourth Olympics) and Timothy Wynter, while diver Yona Knight-Wisdom and gymnast Toni-Ann Williams were creating history by being the first athletes in their respective sporting disciplines to represent Jamaica at an Olympic Games.

After just missing a medal four years ago in London, placing fourth in the 100m breaststroke and establishing herself as an elite swimmer, Atkinson was expected to finish on the podium but finished eighth in the final in 1 minute 08.10 seconds, the slowest time of her three swims by almost two seconds.

Atkinson who had won a Short Course World Championships gold medal while equalling the World Record, both firsts for a black female swimmer, had placed second in her first round in 1 minute 06.72 seconds and went marginally faster in her semi-final swim – 1 minute 06.52 seconds.

The UK-based Knight-Wisdom was a dark horse after he had won a silver medal in the three metre spring board event at the diving World Cup held in Rio earlier in the year, the event that qualified him for the Olympics.

He tallied 416.55 points to comfortably qualify for the semi-finals in 11th place of the 18 qualifiers but came up an agonising eight points shy of making the 12-man final with a total of 381.40 points, basically the equivalent of a cleaner entry on one dive.

Williams was the first Jamaican in action on the second day of competition and despite a bright start on the floor exercise, finished 54th of the 59 athletes who completed the four different areas of her discipline.