Thu | Aug 16, 2018

Jamaica's Knight-Wisdom living his dream

Published:Sunday | July 24, 2016 | 12:00 AMShayne Fairman

Yona Knight-Wisdom, the first male diver named to a Jamaican Olympic team, has revealed that the journey from Britain to representing Jamaica at the Games has been a long one.

His talent was discovered way back in 2004 at an English talent identification camp.

"The coaches and teammates who I have had in England have helped push me to where I am today. Without them, I don't think I would be the diver I am now," said a grateful Knight-Wisdom.

Now 21 years old, the Rio Olympics-bound diver says he is living his dream having graduated from college in May and qualifying for the premier international sporting event.

"I honestly can't believe it's kind of worked out so perfectly. I remember it was 2011-2012 when I first made contact with Jamaica and made actual moves with the switch to Jamaica, and getting my citizenship and everything and then got in touch with the contacts and sponsors and kind of set out on that journey into this year," he told The Sunday Gleaner.


Absolutely phenomenal


The British-based diver, who has a Jamaican father, has been diving for 12 years. That's from as early as age nine. His journey might have started in England, but, according to the athlete, his heart was set on representing Jamaica.

"I am proud of fact that I can get this nation behind me and to support me. It is absolutely phenomenal. My affection for the country has grown massively over the last four years. My only connection was my dad when I was younger and, had my dad known I was gonna represent Jamaica, he would have spoken to me more in a Jamaican, rather than British accent," he joked.

Having looked on the big picture and set himself the target of qualifying for the Olympics, the diver says he is just days away from achieving a lifelong dream to represent the country on the biggest stage."

"It's just surreal," was how he summed up his journey.

He says he is already looking towards the 2020 Olympics, while using this one to learn, grow in experience, and contend for, at least, the semi- finals.

"What I want to come out of Rio with is just a great experience and know that I have done everything possible and competed well," Knight-Wisdom stressed.