JOA president hails determined Alia
President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda has lauded champion swimmer Alia Atkinson for the class, grit, and determination exuded in winning the country's first gold medal at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in the women's 100m breaststroke 'A' final on Friday night.
Atkinson established a Games record 1:06.83 to shrug off some late race pressure from Mexico's Byanca Rodriguez (1:07.80), whose team-mate, Esther Gonzalez, was third in 1:10.80.
Rodriguez had earlier beaten Atkinson to break the Jamaican's 2010 record of 1:10.25, lowering the mark to 1:07.99 with a strong finish to pip Atkinson (1:08.00) on the line.
In a very competitive final, Atkinson led and built up a good lead throughout but had to draw on her reserves and rally to hold off Rodriguez in the final.
"I'm absolutely elated. Alia has justified her credentials," said Samuda. "It is long overdue, and she has done the country very proud. It's a swim of determination, a swim of character, and a swim of mental fortitude, and we only knew that she would do it well, and she has done it, and we must applaud her."
Samuda also congratulated Atkinson, co-captain of the Jamaica women's contingent and captain of the swim team, for the qualities of leadership embodied in her success.
"She has led from the front. She's the team captain, and she has demonstrated strong and remarkable leadership," said Samuda.
Coach of the Jamaica swim team Gillian Millwood got immense pleasure from Atkinson's progress.
"In our team meeting yesterday, we were just trying to get all the jitters out ... we all set our goals, and that's one of them, to get back to a time that's similar to when she was excelling, powerful, and there she was, went up on 30.85, really quick, really strong, really powerful and then came off the wall with those famous under waters that we know and love," outlined Millwood.
"It gave us the signal that this was to be an amazing race. She came down, started to tighten up a little bit in the last 10 metres, but she put her head down, pushed to the wall and dominated that race in a Games Record. I'm absolutely proud of her."
In other finals, Dols finished eighth in the men's 200m butterfly A final in 2:02.41, which that was won by Colombia's Noriega Gomez in 1:57.03; Michael Gunning led, but lost huge ground at the turn in the B final won by Cuba's Vengata Martin (2:02.58), to finish fourth in 2:03.64; while Bryanna Renuart placed seventh in the women's 100m breaststroke final in 1:15.50.