Alia Atkinson won Jamaica’s first-ever gold at the World Short Course Championships, becoming the first black woman to win a world swimming title. The 25-year-old equalled Plymouth-based Lithuanian Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte’s 100m breaststroke world record of one minute and 2.36 seconds. Atkinson came from behind in the final length to beat defending champion Meilutyte by 0.1secs on Saturday. It was the 17th world record set at the Hamad Aquatic Centre in Doha.
Atkinson, who was fourth at the London Olympics, had previously won three world short course silver medals.
She was unaware of the significance of her 100m breaststroke triumph in Doha. Atkinson said: “Hopefully there will be more popularity, especially in Jamaica and the Caribbean and we’ll see more of a rise and hopefully in the future we will see a push.”
Cover photo-Alia Atkinson of Jamaica poses with her gold medal after winning the women’s 100 breaststroke during the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships in Doha, Qatar, on Dec. 6, 2014. KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES