'Spectacular Alia' - ASAJ president Lyn sings Atkinson praises
Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica president Martin Lyn has described veteran national swimmer Alia Atkinson's performance at the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Hangzhou, China, yesterday as "spectacular."
Atkinson, who celebrated her 30th birthday on Tuesday, won the gold medal in the 50m breaststroke event with a time of 29.05 seconds.
The world record holder was winning her first 50m gold medal after three previous silver medal finishes.
Lyn heaped praise on the barrier-breaking swimmer, whom he hailed as an example for young swimmers and believes that her continued success will push the sport even further both locally and internationally.
Sets the bar high
"She continues to set the bar high for Jamaica and continues to carry the Jamaica flag to its ultimate glory," Lyn told The Gleaner. "It really is a great thing for us, and it's also good for aquatics that the youngsters have someone to continuously look up to, and I've always maintained that Alia is the best stakeholder we could have for aquatics in Jamaica."
Atkinson put on a strong performance, coming from behind to touch the wall ahead of Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte, who clocked 29.38 seconds. Italy's Martina Carraro took the bronze medal with her time of 29.59.
Speaking to reporters in China, Atkinson, who actually has the world-leading time of 28.56 seconds, which was set two months ago during the World Cup tour, was thrilled that she was finally able to top the podium.
"I'm really happy to finally get the gold in the 50m," said Atkinson, who also addressed her comparatively older age. "There's a lot of stereotypes about age, and I just turned 30, so it's really cool to see the 30-year-olds still able to do it."
Atkinson, the 2017 recipient, is the overwhelming favourite to win the 2018 RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year award, which will be presented at a ceremony on Friday, January 18, 2019 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.