Photo: Akia Atkinson (Getty Images)
Alia Atkinson showed her true mettle to humble arch rival and defending champion Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania in the women’s 100 breaststroke finals at the FINA World Short Course Championships on Saturday. Alia mounted the platform with one aim in mind and that was to take the scalp of the teenage sensation who handed her a defeat in the 50 metre breastroke final earlier in the championship.
Atkinson left her opposition for dead as she pocketed the gold in a time of 1:02.36 to 1:02.46, and in the process equaling the world record and taking the meet record. Meilutyte’s set the meet record of 1:02.43 in Friday's qualifying rounds. Meilutyte was also denied the opportunity to be the first woman to ever defend this event’s title. Atkinson has become the first Jamaican and first black woman in 40 years to achieve such fete.
That’s Jamaica’s first short course world title as Atkinson was already the only Jamaican swimmer to ever medal with silvers in the 50 breast (2012, 2014) and 100 breast (2012). This can be described as another dream for the sensational Atkinson, who has now positioned her to self to cop her first national Sportswoman of the Year.title.
The Netherlands’ Moniek Nijhuis wound up taking bronze overall in 1:04.03, while China’s Shi Jinglin finished fourth in 1:04.52.