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Diving into 2017 - Lyn expects bigger things from Jamaican divers in New Year

Published:Thursday | December 29, 2016 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment

Former Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica President Martin Lyn says that he has a big year planned for diving in the island in 2017.

The diving fraternity has been encouraged by Yona Knight-Wisdom's performances at last summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which have seen him nominated for the People's Choice Performance of the Year award at the RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards.

Lyn, who has said he welcomes nomination for re-election to the presidency, says that he expects Knight-Wisdom to continue to do what he describes as big things for Jamaica next year, when he returns to fitness.

"He took a little rest towards the end of the Olympics, but he's getting back into focus now," he says. "After getting him back into his regime, he has the British [Diving Championships] Trials at the end of February, or early March. Then he has the World Championships in Budapest [in Hungary]."

But the 21-year-old is not the only hopeful Lyn has in mind. He says he is expecting another British-born Jamaican, 14-year-old Pele Julien, to represent the country well next year.

 

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"Because of Yona, he wants to represent Jamaica at the highest level," Lyn says. "He dives for Crystal Palace Diving Club in England, and people who have seen him dive say that he dives better than Yona did at that age."

But Lyn told The Gleaner that the facilities at the National Aquatics Centre in Kingston have hampered unearthing local talent.

"At this point, we have none, but what I am encouraged to do is get some infrastructure for the National Stadium pool," he says.

"Not many countries in the world have an outdoor diving set-up, but had we had an outdoor set-up prior to Rio, we would have been able to host several countries coming here to practise.

"It really is important that we try and get the facilities here to promote diving, not just for our local divers, but as a local destination for other countries that want to do diving year round.

Lyn says Knight-Wisdom's nomination for the RJR award hints that the discipline is getting the exposure it needs.

"It really is good for diving. Yona, as a diver, goes to some places and some countries that a lot of other athletes wouldn't go to normally. Therefore, as part of a diving fraternity, it just brings more exposure to Jamaica as a country, which is good for us."