By Neto Baptiste
Jamaican International swim star, Alia Atkinson, will be the guest speaker at the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Committee (ABNOC) Athlete Excellence education module starting Saturday at 4pm.
This was revealed by the body’s Technical Development Officer, Charles Bellot, who said they are hoping to accommodate hundreds of attendees on their virtual platform to interact with the Jamaican star swimmer.
“The first module was dealing with the coaches and now we are shifting attention to the athletes and so we have, this Saturday at 4 pm, Jamaican swimming icon Alia Atkinson. She has consented to presenting this Saturday and we’ve made preparations for 300 or 400 attendees on a first come, first serve basis, and she is going to explore the same thing you have been hinting on which is, I can succeed too, as long as I give it my best,” he said.
In January this year, Atkinson claimed a fifth Swammy Awards, when she was named the Central American & Caribbean Female Athlete of the Year for 2019.
Atkinson carried her country’s flag at the opening ceremony of the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she set the Jamaican record in the 100-metre butterfly; and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. She also competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. She also placed first in the 200-yard breaststroke at the 2010 NCAA Championships, swimming for Texas A&M.
Bellot hopes that Atkinson could inspire a next generation of athletes through her interaction during the segment.
“We want our athletes to come on so they can experience a living legend, dialog with her through questionnaires, I am not sure if we are going to have that open zoom setting as yet but she will let me know which one she prefers but it doesn’t matter, get your questions together and come and learn,” he said.
“When we started this whole learning platform of the ABNOC, it’s multifaceted and so we are focusing on coaches, parents and guardians, athletes, sports administrators, the ancillary services, sports announcers, event management and we are going to be doing something on that as well,” he added.
Atkinson also qualified for the 2012 Olympics 100 meters women’s breaststroke finals after defeating Canadian rival Tera van Beilen in a head to head race for the final position. She subsequently placed fourth in the finals of the 2012 Olympics 100 meters women’s breaststroke in a time of 1:06.93 seconds. Interested persons can register for the event via the NOC’s Facebook page or could request the link for the meeting by sending a WhatsApp message to 268-720-8302.