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Story Highlights

  • World 100-metre breaststroke Champion, Alia Atkinson, has been hailed as a true inspiration for young people and sport professionals, by Minister with responsibility for Sport, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley.
  • In December 2014, Miss Atkinson, who started swimming at age four, won gold, when equalling the world record in the World Championship Short Course 100-metre breaststroke in Doha, Qatar.
  • In winning, she became the first black woman to win a world swimming title.

World 100-metre breaststroke Champion, Alia Atkinson, has been hailed as a true inspiration for young people and sport professionals, by Minister with responsibility for Sport, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley.

“You have inspired our young people to achieve greatness, not only in swimming, but in every sphere of life. Your great humility, your determination and fight are all the hallmarks of a descendant of Nanny, our National Heroine,” the Minister said.

She was addressing a welcome home reception for the athlete, held today (January 9), at the Norman Manley International Airport, in Kingston.

“We are proud of you, and we know that the swimming fraternity, the entire sport sector, and all our young people, children and citizens of Jamaica, will benefit from your contribution to strengthening Brand Jamaica,” Minister Neita Headley said.

In December 2014, Miss Atkinson, who started swimming at age four, won gold, when equalling the world record in the World Championship Short Course 100-metre breaststroke in Doha, Qatar. In winning, she became the first black woman to win a world swimming title.

Last year the Government pumped over $30 million to upgrade the swimming pool at the National Stadium, in Kingston, which the Minister highlighted as one “example of our commitment to investing in this sport, despite the fiscal constraints.”

“There is tremendous swimming talent in our cupboards waiting,” the Minister noted.

 

Meanwhile, Miss Atkinson told the gathering that the sponsorship given to her last year by GraceKennedy Money Services (GKMS), and support from the people helped to boost her confidence. “That sponsorship gave me the confidence to break the barriers,” she added.

“The Jamaican people, my sponsors that actually believe in me, it is humbling, and drives me to continue. The world record is just the beginning,” she said.

GKMS renewed the sponsorship of Miss Atkinson at the reception, and its Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Allen, said it is more than what was agreed to last year.

She noted that this involve putting together the story of Miss Atkinson. “This is something we believe we can take to other generations, to inspire them as to how you do it. She started at a very early age, and we think it is encouraging to have other persons and other athletes to understand that they can be inspired and be successful too,” Miss Allen said.

 

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