Alia Atkinson of Jamaica won a third gold medal for herself and her country at the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Columbia on July 22, 2018. She swam the women’s 50-meter breaststroke final in 30.19 seconds, defeating Melissa Rodriguez Villanueva of Mexico whose time was 31.20 seconds. Atkinson noted that the breaststroke event is her favorite, and she entered the competition with a goal of coming in under 30 seconds, so she was pleased with the result. “I wanted to go under 30. Point 19 off, that’s not too bad,” she said. Atkinson received her medal from the president of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda. The total number of medals won by Jamaica at the CAC was brought to four with Atkinson’s win. Jamaica takes home Atkinson’s three gold medals and a bronze medal won by Chris Binnie in the men’s individual squash event. Atkinson came close to winning a second medal in the final of the women’s 100-meter freestyle competition but ultimately came in fourth with a time of 55.41 seconds. She entered the final with the seventh fastest time and appeared strong in the first half, but was outpaced in the event’s dramatic finish. Atkinson said she was disappointed with her performance in the 100 meters, but took responsibility for the loss, saying, “I realize that I didn’t deserve it as much because the way I practice I need to be better in practice, so I just can’t come out here and expect to be a completely different freestyler, I need to be better in practice.” Atkinson has won a total of 12 gold medals at the CAC Games, including five in 2006 in Cartagena, Colombia, and four in 2010 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
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