Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Atkinson surprised by Sportswoman of the Year award

Published:Thursday | June 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment/ Sports News Coordinator
Alia Atkinson poses with her National Sportswoman of the Year Awards at the RJRGLEANER Communications Group boardroom, Lyndhurst Road, yesterday.

RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year for 2017, Alia Atkinson, has now collected her second award but it is still an overwhelming feeling for her.

Atkinson won the award in January but was unable to attend the ceremony as she was overseas at the time. As a result, a special function was held at the RJRGLEANER Communications Group boardroom at Lyndhurst Road in St Andrew yesterday, where she claimed her prize.

"This one was actually a surprise for me, but I was happy when Mr (Michael) Fennell (RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation Selection Committee Chairman) said 'You accomplished so much in 2017, but this isn't just a 2017 award. It's an accumulation of your achievements inside the sport and outside, because you have been an ambassador for Jamaica and for the sport as well.' So it was really cool to see someone of that stature saying I am an ambassador for sport," she told The Gleaner.

Atkinson said that this achievement has motivated her to chase further goals, although she feels she is coming closer to the end of her career.

"It's a pretty overwhelming feeling, especially getting older in my career, as a mature athlete," she shared. "It's pretty cool to come back and say that not only have I done it once, but I can do it again. It gives me some sort of push to keep on going and see what else I can do in swimming - just to give it my all for the remaining years.

"For me, I am a very dedicated athlete, but I'm also very stubborn. So I give myself a date and stick to that date (to achieve goals). Nowadays it's about accepting and loving the sport all over again, and seeing how much I can fit into the next couple of years."

Sports Minister Olivia Grange, who presented the award to the Olympian, said she is very proud of Atkinson, not only as one of Jamaica's standout athletes, but also as a role model for Jamaican women.

"I am committed to highlighting women in sports," she said. "Alia is an extremely good role model for our women. But not only for our women, for both men and women. She has achieved a lot. She has not slowed down. I expect that she will continue to grow and excel, even at the age of 30. Her determination is something to admire and her personality, her demeanour, the discipline that she displays is something that should be emulated by all our sportsmen and women."