Interviews

A Conversation with A Possible 2016 Olypmian, Jamaican Diver Yona Knight-Wisdom

Written by Xavier Murphy

As we are learning from the 2012 Olympics, Jamaica is more than Track and Field. This week we have a conversation with diver Yona Knight-Wisdom, a young Jamaican diver who hopes to represent Jamaica in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Q: What is your connection to Jamaica?
My father is Jamaican so I was eligible to apply for a passport and citizenship through him.

Q: How did you get started in diving?
The city of Leeds diving club came to my school in 2004, and due to my background in gymnastics, I excelled in the challenges set, so they invited me to the pool, and it all started from there

Q: How long have you been diving?
I have been diving for 8 years

Q: Describe the feeling of diving from that height into a pool?
Well, I only do three metre springboard, so it’s not as scary as doing 10m but you still get a massive adrenaline rush when you jump off because of the number of variables which could occur in the dive. I love that!

Q: Are you diving competitively?
Yes I have dived competitively in all of my 8 years of diving

Q: How many tournaments have you won?
It’s hard to remember the exact number of gold medals I have won since the start, but it is a number around 25

Q: It is expensive to compete and dedicate you life to a sport. Do you have any sponsors who are supporting you?
Yes, there are travel and accommodation costs involved when I go to competitions, the exact cost depends on where I am going and how long I will be staying there. Also because I train 6 days a week, and still go to school, there are huge petrol costs, trying to get me to the pool every day. That may come on me soon as I have my driving test booked. I have one definite sponsor at the moment. Levi roots, the founder of reggae reggae sauce has agreed to sponsor me a certain amount each year, which is helpful, but not actually enough

Q: What do people say when you tell them you are Jamaican and you want to be the first Jamaican diver at the Olympics?
Most people are very surprised at first, since I have a British accent, but I explain and they seem to be very proud of me for doing this.

Q: Is your goal Olympic 2016 in Brazil?
Yes. I have a hard four years ahead of me to work towards qualifying for 2016. Nothing is definite yet

Q: Has anyone from the Jamaican Olympic Association reached out to you?
I have been in regular contact with Martin Lyn, the president of the amateur swimming association of Jamaica, but no one actually within the Olympic association.

Q: When you are not diving what do you like doing?
I don’t have much time to myself outside if diving, and since I am still at school, I really want to get the grades I need for university, so I spend a lot of it working. If I have no school work to do I would either relax and recover and home watching tv or on my laptop, or I would relax with some mates if they are available.

Q: If you were on a deserted island what is the one movie you must have?
Cool Runnings. Because it is such a motivating film and in some ways relates to what I’m trying to undertake.

Q: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Where can fan who want to support you get information?
I have been getting that question a few times, so it looks like I’ll have to set up a fan page on Facebook in due course, but in the meantime they can follow me on twitter @YonaKW where I regularly talk about my diving, and answer as many questions as I can

About the author

Xavier Murphy