Click here to print page

Alia Atkinson to be honoured at Women in Sports Conference

By Howard Walker
Observer writer

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Outstanding Jamaican swimmer Alia Atkinson will be this year's honoree at the second staging of the Yardie Sports Women in Sports Conference today.

The conference, the brainchild of Yardie Sports CEO Dwayne Richards, will be held virtually for the audience this year and will be hosted on the Yardie Sports YouTube and Facebook pages starting at 10:00 am.

The conference is being held under the theme 'The impact of women on the Olympic Games, the impact of the Olympic Games on women' and will feature presentations from sports administrators Jacqueline Cowan, president of the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA); and Nicole Grant-Brown, president of the Jamaica Gymnastics Federation.

Convenor of the conference, Richards, explained the reason for the staging at this time.

“We thought long and hard about keeping the conference this year, especially with the restrictions that are currently in place due to the pandemic. But this in an Olympic year, which is always significant for Jamaica and once again the hopes are high, that our women especially, will make us proud.”

He continued: “So, we have decided to host a virtual conference this year with the focus being on women at the Olympic Games.”

Atkinson, who first represented Jamaica at the Olympic Games as a 16-year-old in 2004, will be heading to Tokyo, Japan next month to represent Jamaica at her fifth consecutive Games.

She is the current short course world record holder for the 50m and 100m breaststrokes and has four gold medals at the short course World Championships between 2014 and 2018.

“Alia has had an amazing and storied career and has continued to inspire the next generation of Jamaica's swimmers,” Richards noted.

“The work that she continues to do in and out of the pool is truly remarkable and so we thought that in an Olympic year, where she will be making a record fifth-consecutive appearance for Jamaica at the Games, it was only fitting that we recognise her for her efforts,” he said.

Richards explained that while the audience will be treated to a virtual conference, the presentations will be a mix of live and virtual performances.

“Most of our presenters will be delivering live to our online audience, while we will have a few virtual presentations as well. We are happy that most of our presenters will be able to deliver in person as we try our best to offer an event in keeping with the standards that we set last year.”

Also among the list of speakers are Olympian and veteran administrator Vilma Charlton and two-time Olympian Christine Day along with Olivia Rose, PhD, sports psychologist; Collette Pryce, principal St Jago High; Tamara Williams-Gayle, track and field coach at Oberlin High school and Trishana McGowan, Sports Journalist of the Year 2020.

The conference is set to be delivered as a television product according to Richards who thanked his sponsors for coming onboard to make it happen at short notice.

“It took us a while to figure out how we would deliver the conference this year, so I am extremely happy that our sponsors, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), GKMS-Western Union, Sagicor, Carimed through their brands Ensure, Ronzoni and V8 Energy, as well as Tru Juice have partnered with us to make it all possible.

“We are excited about the conference and we are looking forward to some interesting presentations again this year,” he concluded.

The JOA President Christopher Samuda, JAAA President Garth Gayle and chairperson for the JOA Women in Sports Commission, Nichole Case, will all bring greetings at the conference.