Jamaican swimmer Alia Atkinson to celebrate her birthday in style

Doha: Jamaican swimmer Alia Atkinson would be celebrating her 26th birthday in style.

Born on December 11, 1988, Alia has reasons to be elated. On Saturday, she created history by clinching a gold medal in the women’s 100m breaststroke, at the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships, here. In the process, the Jamaican also equalled Ruta Meilutyte's world record of 1min 02.36sec.

No sooner had Alia captured the coveted title that social media went abuzz about her achievements. Her twitter handle @AliAtki was flooded with congratulatory messages. She even went ahead and posted her picture with the coveted gold medal on Istagram saying, “This is more than about me. A country...a nation, a race. First Jamaican swimmer, First female swimmer from the Caribbean, and I believe first black female swimmer in over 40yrs. This is not just mine.”

Clearly, she is set to have a gala time next weekend when she celebrates her 26th birthday with her family back home in Jamaica.

“I am sure the swimmers are enjoying it. No wonder so many records are being broken,” said Khaleel Al Jabir, President, Qatar Swimming Association and CEO of the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships, earlier.

In fact, even Alia hadn’t realised that she had broken the record.

“I was pretty shocked, I’m not used to seeing my name up there at number one,” she told reporters post her win.

“Going into the last finish I saw her (Ruta) beside me and I thought ‘please, just finish!’ not like in the 50 (50m breaststroke final). I was just focused on swimming straight to the wall.”

“I was trying to time the finish and we know how that worked out in the 50 (50m breaststroke final) so I was hoping not to repeat the same thing. After the 50 (50m breaststroke final) I knew things could turn around so I just had to keep my head in check and keep a positive outlook,” she added.