LONDON was Alia Atkinson’s third Olympic Games but it was also her breakthrough moment and her performance there catapulted Jamaican swimming to a whole new level. Atkinson first competed in Athens in 2004 and finished 25th in the 200m breaststroke in Beijing in 2008, but as a 23-year-old with college experience under her belt, Atkinson went to a third Olympic Games. Having tied with Canadian Tera van Beilen for eighth place in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m breaststroke, Atkinson was forced to swim off with the North American to decide a spot in the final. Then-Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica president, Martin Lyn recalls the intensity of the experience. “At first she was a little almost nervous even though it was her third Olympics but as she progressed she became more and more confident. That came to a head when the swim-off occurred. She was ready to swim but the Canadians wanted to put the swim-off to the next day and we (Jamaican officials) ensured that the swim occurred within hours of the previous swim and because she was so fit and ready she was able to perform and she won the swim off by metres,” Lyn told The Gleaner. The swimmer was supported by members of the Jamaican contingent in the Olympic Pool at the finals in London and they watched as Atkinson came within metres of a bronze medal. She eventually finished fourth Lyn, who was president of the ASAJ from 2009-2015, said Atkinson’s exploits in London helped to attract more interest and sponsors to the sport, as the image of swimming being one for elitists, slowly shifted. “The popularity of aquatics definitely grew as a result of Alia’s performance and more sponsors became aware. It takes more work for us to push sponsorship and to bring up other Alia’s in Jamaica and we have in Jamaica which are very many (like her). We have a great programme and I see where we can produce many more Olympians in the pool,” Lyn said. He added that the increased sponsorship helped the association to send Atkinson to events overseas which helped improve her stature as well. “It (London) was the first time she was swimming against Europeans because she had never been to Europe and we were able to send her to Europe after that which is why she has been able to do so much better,” he noted. Atkinson, now 27, is looking forward to her fourth Olympics. Since 2012 she became the first black woman to win a world title when she set a world record in the 100m breaststroke at the 2014 Short Course World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Atkinson also won a bronze medal in 100m breaststroke and silver in the 50m breaststroke at the Long Course World Championships in Kazan, Russia in 2015.
New York: Rafael Nadal ramped up his quest for a fourth US Open title with an impressive win over 2014 champion Marin Cilic to advance to the quarter-finals while Alexander Zverev slumped to a four-set defeat. Second seed Nadal — the winner at Flushing Meadows in 2010, 2013 and 2017 — produced some electrifying moments of brilliance to end the challenge of Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-2 on Monday. After barely breaking a sweat in reaching the last 16, a run that included a second-round walkover, Nadal stared down his stiffest test so far to surge into a quarter-final meeting with Argentine 20th seed Diego Schwartzman. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh The Spaniard exchanged the first two sets with Cilic but grasped control by breaking for 3-1 in the third, a series of dazzling winners drawing an animated fist-pump from golf legend Tiger Woods at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Nadal reeled off nine games in succession across the third and fourth sets and 12 of the final 15 to nail down a 40th Grand Slam quarter-final appearance, nine of which have come at the US Open. “The emotions I have when I play here are impossible to describe. I love the sport and feel very lucky to still be playing tennis here. Eight years ago I didn’t think that would happen as my body was suffering badly,” Nadal said. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later “It’s a huge honor playing in front of all of you and playing in front of Tiger is a very special thing. I always say I don’t have big idols but one idol is him and I always try to follow him.” Nadal’s path to the final sees him take on Schwartzman next after the 5ft 7in (1.70m) Argentine chopped down sixth seed Zverev. “He is playing amazing, nothing new, he’s one of the players with best talent on tour,” the 18-time Grand Slam champion said of his upcoming opponent. “It will be a big challenge. I have to play my best. I’m happy for him. He’s a close friend and I hope to play a great match.” – Berrettini, Monfils win – =========================== Zverev rolled through the opening set against Schwartzman under the roof on Ashe during a rainy afternoon session, but he lost his way to go down 3-6 6-2 6-4 6-3. The German was enjoying his deepest run in New York but committed 17 double faults and 65 unforced errors and received a point penalty for swearing as Schwartzman advanced to a second US Open quarter-final in three years. “Generally my season so far has not been the best,” said Zverev, who has reached just two quarter-finals in 18 Grand Slam appearances. Zverev said he was hindered a “very swollen” back and right hip following a fall in his previous match. “I had a lot of chances which I didn’t use early in the match. He kind of ran away with it.” Zverev lost his serve three times during the second set but appeared to have steadied himself when he moved a break ahead at 3-2 in the third, only for Schwartzman to wrest the momentum back in his favor after a lengthy sixth game. “It was tough because I was feeling I had the chance to win this and I had a few break points I could not take,” Schwartzman said. “He was up a break and then I recovered really quickly and I felt great after that.” Matteo Berrettini became just the second Italian man to progress to the US Open quarter-finals, 42 years after Corrado Barazzutti’s run to the last four in New York. Berrettini, the 24th seed, eased to a 6-1 6-4 7-6 (8/6) win over Russia’s 43rd-ranked Andrey Rublev to reach the last eight at a Grand Slam for the first time. “It’s something really crazy. I cannot believe it right now. I need a few hours to understand what happened,” said Berrettini, 23, who goes on to play French 13th seed Gael Monfils. “I’m just happy. Seeing my team and family here and crying, for me it’s unbelievable.” Berrettini went one step further than his run to the last 16 at Wimbledon in July, where he was beaten by Roger Federer. Monfils, a 2016 US Open semi-finalist, crushed the 33-year-old Andujar’s bid to become the oldest player in the Open era to reach his first Grand Slam singles quarter-final with a 6-1 6-2 6-2 rout.
Advertisement Last month, Reyez shared a photo on Instagram of her frowning while sitting in the grass with a bag of ice against her leg.“Busted my knee giving my guitar away today,” the two-time Juno Award winner said with a hashtag for the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware.Reyez will have several weeks off to mend since her schedule is clear of tour dates until the Squamish Constellation Music Festival in B.C. (July 27), Osheaga in Montreal (Aug. 2) and Riverfest in Elora, Ont. (Aug. 16).Ottawa’s Bluesfest runs through July 14 with performances by the Killers, Wu-Tang Clan, Backstreet Boys and Alexisonfire.THE CANADIAN PRESS Twitter Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Jessie Reyez arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) Advertisement Jessie Reyez is sitting out a performance at this year’s Ottawa RBC Bluesfest as she heals from a recent leg injury.Organizers for the 10-day music event say Reyez has been told to stay off her feet after hurting herself last month at another music festival.The Toronto singer was originally booked to perform at Bluesfest on July 10 as part of a lineup that included American rapper Logic.“Unfortunately, Jessie Reyez was injured during a recent performance and has been advised not to fly or perform for the next few weeks in order to heal properly,” Bluesfest organizers said on Twitter. Advertisement Login/Register With: