Swimming Champion Alia Atkinson
For Jamaicans Alia Atkinson is very special, for she was awarded the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander (CD); one of the nation’s highest honours. Alia Atkinson is a history maker for she is the first black woman to win a world swimming title, at the 12 FINA World Swimming Championships held in Doha in 2014, breaking the previous record made in 2009.
Besides being a finalist at the Rio Olympics, Atkinson represented Jamaica at several other international sporting events including the Commonwealth Games, World Swimming Championships, The Pan American Games and the Central America and Caribbean Games.
Her success in winning medals at these international events started in 2006 and continues to today. Just recently at FINA World Short-course Swim Championships in Hangzhou, China she gained gold for the 50-metre breast stroke and broke her own 2014 record with a timing of 28.56 seconds
Atkinson runs the AAN Swimming Programme, offering swimming lessons and water safety to children in young people in Fort Lauderdale, USA where she trains. There in 2016 she was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame of Fort Lauderdale.
In an interview with Swim Swam she revealed that her mission is “To place Jamaica on the world map of swimming; to agitate for the improvement of the infrastructural support for swimming in Jamaica so as to be able to take it to the next level; and to realize my full potential for myself, my parents, and my country.”