Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Lyn hails Atkinson's dedication

Published:Thursday | August 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

Martin Lyn, president of the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ), says local swimming icon Alia Atkinson is most deserving of the Order of Distinction (OD) award that will be bestowed on her at the nation's Heroes Day celebrations in October.

Lyn says, Atkinson has been the standard-bearer for Jamaican swimming throughout her career and has exemplified what it is to be dedicated to one's dreams and aspirations and that encouraged youngsters, especially those in individual sports, to remain steadfast and work hard towards achieving their ambitions.

"We (swimming fraternity) are delighted that it (award) has been bestowed on Alia because of her dedication and her constant uphill battles to get to number one, stay at number one, and represent Jamaica so well for so many years. Despite her numerous setbacks, she is really inspirational, and the Government of Jamaica has seen it fit to honour her in this regard," he told The Gleaner.

"I can sum up Alia in one word, dedication. I have never met another athlete so dedicated. I have travelled with her, I have been with her for some time and she always comes out smiling and dedicated.

"The key to what most of these athletes don't understand is that successes are not overnight. If you are in individual sports, you have to understand that you have to get up by yourself, work for yourself to achieve for yourself and Alia exemplifies that. If someone was to write a book about her the title would definitely be dedication," he added.

Lyn noted that like Usain Bolt in athletics, Alia flies the Jamaica flag wherever she goes in a non-traditional Jamaican sport like swimming, while dismantling the concept that swimming was a European sport when she became the first black swimmer to win a gold medal at a world event.

Although yet to capture that elusive Olympic medal, Lyn does not think it is a blot on her career.

"In terms of an Olympic medal, I think she may feel a bit disenfranchised, but nobody could fault her for not getting back up and going for it again, and if there is some way she makes it to a final in Tokyo (2020), you may see a different Alia, and that is my hope for her," he said.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com