Defiant Alia bags gold in 100m 'breast'

Sunday, November 19, 2017

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Jamaica's champion swimmer Alia Atkinson proved a tough cookie yesterday as she defied a shoulder injury to claim another gold medal in the 100m breaststroke, this time on the final leg of the Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup in Singapore.

Atkinson, who achieved the 50m and 100m breaststroke double on the Beijing, China, leg will again be attempting to repeat the feat when she takes on the field in the 50m sprint today, despite the injury concerns.

The 28-year-old reportedly suffered a dislocated left shoulder in the individual medley (IM) in the Beijing, China, leg as she transitioned from the backstroke to the breaststroke portion, when the humerus popped out of the glenoid.

Despite being slipped back in, the pain continued to linger and as such Atkinson was instructed to rest the joint. However, like the determined 'darling of the pool' she is, Atkinson rejected that option and decided to press her way through the last two clusters of the World Cup.

But she did not have things all her way, as her manager took the necessary precautions and withdrew the imposing swimmer from the butterfly and individual medley (IM) event which require much greater stress on the shoulder muscle.

As such, Atkinson was left to contest the 50m and 100m breaststroke, and she duly obliged in the latter yesterday to rebound from her second-place finish on the previous leg in Tokyo, Japan.

In Japan, she was beaten into second with a time of 1:04.15 by Russian rival Yuliya Efimova, who clocked 1:03.90.

But now in Singapore the Jamaican, showing very little signs of stress, made all from the preliminary round when she comfortably clocked the fastest time of 1:06.36 to lead Denmark's Rikke Pedersen (1:06.45) and Jinglin Shi (1:06.59) as the top three heading into the final.

And there would be no changes to the leader board in the showpiece event with the Jamaican, despite registering one of her slowest reaction times of 0.70 from the blocks, recovered well with a blistering 29.79-second 50m split to yet again strike gold in this her pet event, in her third-fastest time for the year, a remarkable 1:03.79.

The world Short-course record holder finished way ahead of the Danish champion Pedersen (1:05.43) and Shi, the Chinese champion, who finished in 1:05.64.

With that in mind, she will prove hard to beat in the shorter version of the event today when reporting fresh from treatment.

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