Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Knight-Wisdom getting ready to dive into action

Published:Wednesday | August 10, 2016 | 8:00 AM
Jamaica's Yona Knight-Wisdom practises diving at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, yesterday.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:

Yona Knight-Wisdom watched the London 2012 Olympic Games from his home in England and couldn't help but feel a jolt of desire and excitement, as he witnessed the Jamaican influence on the event, with the island's track-and-field stars again stealing the spotlight.

For Knight-Wisdom, a Leeds-born diver who that year decided to represent the country of his father's birth, being here as part of the Jamaica team at an Olympic Games has certainly lived up to his expectations as he gets ready to create Jamaican Olympic history.

"All I could think was, 'I want to be a part of this team.' That was what was going through my head at that point," Knight-Wisdom reminisced.

"The team was so amazing and I could see the impact they had on the Olympic Games, even though it's such a small country and the love that they get just from wearing the track suit, I really wanted to be a part of this team, and I thought, hopefully, I can improve to the point where I can go to the Games, and now I'm here and it's amazing!

"Being the only diver here, it's very unique; it's something that I have gotten used to over the years, especially when I am away competing and I tell people I am a diver for Jamaica, they go, 'Oh, I didn't know Jamaica has a diver.'

"I have been getting to know the track-and-field athletes and they have all been great. I'm looking forward to watching them compete as well," said Knight-Wisdom, before joking about his interaction with sprinter Asafa Powell.

"They are really cool, and I talked to Asafa Powell properly at the opening ceremony for the first time ever and he was really nice and really cool. He is an athlete who I have really respected over the years," said Knight-Wisdom. "Asafa likes taking his shirt off and showing his six-pack. I think I could give him a challenge with my six-pack, actually."

"I haven't really seen (Yohan) Blake or (Usain) Bolt around, but the rest of the team have been very nice and they speak to me and are always nice."

Knight-Wisdom, who spent more than an hour practising at the competition venue yesterday, said while he wasn't entirely pleased with the session, he is fully confident he will get things right in time for his event on August 15.

"Everything is going all right. I'm very comfortable in the pool and I'm enjoying everything about the Olympic Games really. It's all very surreal and I'm trying to enjoy and embrace it," he said.

"The session wasn't exactly perfect. It wasn't that bad, but I still have a few days to go before I start diving, so if I was diving extremely well today, that might be more of a problem. It will all come together, but it doesn't matter what I do in training, it matters what I do in competition, and I've competed well against these guys for the last year, so I'm looking forward to it," Knight-Wisdom said.

The 21-year-old won silver at the FINA Diving World Cup and will become the second Jamaican in history and the first Jamaican male ever to compete in Olympic diving when he takes off during the 3m springboard event.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com