LONDON, England — Seventeen-year-old diver Yona Knight-Wisdom had a choice of three countries to choose from, but chose Jamaica, his father's birthplace.
His choice was influenced by three main factors. “First thing is that's where Usain Bolt is from,” he said with a laugh. “Two, I could get more funding than from Barbados (his mother's birthplace), and three I figured I could get into international competitions this way instead of waiting to make the Great Britain team,” said Knight-Wisdom.
Like most his age, he gravitates to the malls, but what made him stand out among the thousands at Westfield Mall, just beside Olympic Village in London one day this week, was his taller than average height and that he was dressed from head to toe in the Jamaican 2012 Olympic outfit, one of the hottest commodities here in London this summer.
While he drew stares while strolling through the mall and being interviewed by a journalist, he hopes that in four years time he will draw even more attention when he becomes the first Jamaican diver to compete in the Olympic Games come Rio 2016.
Knight-Wisdom is enjoying a break from training and competition but says he will returning to training next week to prepare for the 19th FINA World Junior Championships to be held in Adelaide, Australia, in October.
He made his debut for Jamaica earlier this year when he competed at an international meeting in Dresden, Germany, advancing to the final in one event which he said was an accomplishment for him.
“Making the finals in Dresden gave me a lot of attention, as a lot of divers from all over the world were there so it gives me confidence going into World Juniors,” the 3m springboard specialist said.
The Leeds native said he had been getting a lot of notice for his diving, even in England, especially when he gets to the international competitions.
Knight-Wisdom, who said he watched Jamaica's Alia Atkinson's performance at the Olympics, described it as “amazing”.
“I wasn't expecting that at all, especially the way she got into the final, I wasn't expecting that at all,” he said.
The diver noted that the next two years or so would be crucial for him, and while he won't be pressuring himself too much, he will be using the time to get used to international competition. “I hope to be pushing hard to get there,” he concluded.