Athletics

Foster hopes Alia gold medals ripple on Jamaica team

Monday, July 23, 2018

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BARRANQUILLA, Colombia — Ryan Foster, CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), is hoping the successes by swimming icon Alia Atkinson, captain of the national women's and swim teams, will provide a rippling effect for athletes competing in other sporting disciplines at the 23rd Central American and Caribbean Games.

“The Jamaica Olympic Association is extremely thrilled with the second gold medal by Alia,” said Foster earlier, following the athlete's victory in the women's 50 metres butterfly final on Saturday night at the Eduardo Movilla Aquatic Complex, which is named after a man who has been coaching swimming here for over 50 years.

Atkinson recorded 26.60 seconds to win gold ahead of Venezuela's Jeserik Pinto (26.76) and Mexico's Ibanez Lopez (27.08). It was the Jamaica second gold medal performance following her win in the women's 100m breaststroke A final on Friday night in a record 1:06.83 minutes.

“Alia's performances thus far personifies the virtues of hard work, determination and a leader. We hope her performances will be a springboard for the success of the other federations,” noted Foster.

Atkinson, herself, appears to have another big opponent in her gold medal chase; and it is not coming from the field of competitors.

After winning the final on Saturday, she admitted: “I'm starting to feel the effects of the dehydration and heat, so hopefully I can continue and get better as it goes along.

“It's mostly a silent, not really a silent killer, but a silent assassin, because in the mornings you feel like you're drinking enough, but you're not, and if it's not water it's electrolytes, and if it's not electrolytes, it's just that you need more salts. So there's a lot of things to balance and you don't feel it until afternoon and that's when it really hits. So I just have to keep, be preventative,” the 29-year-old observed. “The medical staff is here and the physios are excellent, so it should work.”

Temperatures have been clocking near 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity above 70 degrees daily.

Commenting on her race, Atkinson said she wanted to be quicker.

“The 50 was okay. I wanted to go a little faster, but towards the end I started to feel the effects of dehydration, the cramping up at the end, so I kind of changed my stroke a little. So considering that I'm really happy I still got the gold, but I need to fix that for tomorrow, because tomorrow will be harder,” the swimmer said of yesterday's competition in the 50m freestyle and 100m backstroke.

Her first two wins took the nation's tally at the games to three and eighth place overall in the medals standing at the end of competition on Saturday, as multiple national and Caribbean champion Chris Binnie won the bronze-medal match in the men's individual competition.

Overall, Atkinson's CAC gold medal count was up to 11 after Saturday's events.

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