Sport

Another gold

Alia completes 100m breaststroke three-peat at World Championships

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, December 16, 2018

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JAMAICA'S Alia Atkinson capped off another exceptional title fight for the country by retaining her 100-metre breaststroke honours for a third consecutive year at 14th FINA Short Course World Championships in Hangzhou, China, yesterday.

Atkinson, who won the event at the 2014 and 2016 championships, successfully completed the three-peat, stopping the clock in 1:03.51, to bring the curtains down on what was another impressive season lined with medals and super performances.

With the 100-m breaststroke win, the 30-year-old Jamaican also completed the breaststroke double following her victory in the 50m equivalent a few days earlier. She also produced a 100m individual medley (IM) bronze medal performance which placed Jamaica in 10th on the standings based on the quality of medals.

United States led the way after five days of action with 27 medals, followed by Russia 11 and Hungary with five, while host China are in fourth with 12 based on the quality of medals.

Aquatic Sports of Jamaica (ASAJ) president Martin Lyn was full of praise for the incomparable Jamaican swimmer, who continues to be the regional standard bearer in the pool.

“It is always a pleasure to watch Alia perform on the world stage as she continues to set the bar high and make us in Jamaica very proud of her accomplishments. She has done so much for aquatics in Jamaica, and we could not have asked for much more from her, to have a three-peat in a sport like aquatics is a tremendous achievement and it augurs well for us as it puts Jamaica on the international map.

“Her outstanding showing continues to show people across the world that Jamaica's aquatic is very much a part of the world stage and she continually affirms that by doing what she does,” Lyn told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the swimmers victory.

“It is just a matter of time now before other swimmers from Jamaica are able to maintain a presence on the world stage just like Alia. So it's a great achievement and we at the ASAJ are extremely proud of alia as she continues to bring Jamaica glory.

“Alia's performances at her age is just pure evidence of hard work, discipline and dedication and it has gotten her to where she is now and we welcome that in any sport and continue to strive to ensure that our other athletes emulate these traits,” Lyn added.

Atkinson, who tied the world record of 1:02.36 in this event twice in 2014 and 2016, entered yesterday's showpiece event as the firm favourite, especially with the absence of co-record holder Ruta Meilutyt, who failed to make the final cut.

Flanked by American Katie Meili in lane three and Australian Jessica Hansen in lane five, Atkinson left the lane four blocks as the fourth fastest swimmer to react at 0.68.

Italy's Martina Carraro (0.61), Meili (0.64) and Hansen (0.67), all entered the pool ahead of her, but given her strong under water pull out, the Jamaican quickly lapped up the lead by close to a body length off the first turn.

At the half-way mark, Atkinson was just under world record pace at 29.48 seconds, any hopes of a record faded after she left the final turn with Meili on her tail.

Though tiring at the end, did enough to hold off a strong finish from Meili, who had to be content with silver in 1:03.63, while Hansen completed the podium in 1:04.61.


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