Sport

Superb Alia mines second gold in China

Sunday, November 12, 2017

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Jamaica's swimming sensation Alia Atkinson underlined her superb form on the Fina/Airweave Swimming World Cup circuit when she mined a second gold medal in the 200-metre breaststroke yesterday.

Atkinson, who won gold in the 50m breaststroke on Friday's first day, closed the Beijing, China leg — the seventh in the World Cup series — with another dominant display.

She signalled her intentions from the preliminary round when she comfortably clocked 2:24.94 to advance to the final with the third-fastest time behind Japan's Runa Imai (2:23.59) and Rikke Pedersen (2:24.23) of Denmark.

But as she has been accustomed to do, Atkinson set the National Aquatic Centre alight in the final as she turned the tables on her main rivals on the backs of her brisk reaction time of 0.69s at the start.

With her usual pace and crisp form, the Jamaican had the field in her wake when she clocked a fast first 50m split of 31.50s, and was at 1:06.2 at the half-way mark after clocking 34.70s.

At the 150m point Atkinson split 35.91s, and despite slowing up a bit, had enough in the tank to come home in 2:19.58 on the heels of a last 50m split of 37.47s. She won ahead of Imai (2:19.77) and Pedersen (2:20.11).

Atkinson had earlier pulled out of the 100m butterfly, which could be attributed to her strong gold medal performance in the 200m breaststroke.

The 100m butterfly was won by Sweden's Sarah Sjöström in 55.60s, ahead of Yufei Zhang (56.91s) of China and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (57.18s) of the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Atkinson, who came into the Beijing leg lying fifth in the overall ranking on 153 points, is sure to improve her ranking heading into the Japan and Singapore legs in this the final Cluster Number three.

She also continues her build-up to next year's Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, where she will carry Jamaica's medal hopes in the pool.

— Sherdon Cowan

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