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Alia Atkinson becomes first black swimmer ever to win in world championships

Pratiksha Sharma | Updated on: Saturday, June 01, 2019, 05:59 AM IST

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Washington: Jamaican swimmer Alia Atkinson caused a big upset as she became the first black woman to win the final of the 100-metre breaststroke at the world short course swimming championships.

Atkinson went into the final very much as the second favorite to Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte. But in a big upset the Jamaican snatched victory on the final stroke from Meilutyte and with it made swimming history by becoming the first black woman to win a world title.

Atkinson said that she realized she was catching up so she was just trying to get a good finish, adding that she is not used to seeing her name up in number one so it was kind of a shock, but a good one, CNN reported

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Meilutyte, who trains in England, had led going down the final length of the 25-meter pool, looking set to complete the 50-100-metre double, until Atkinson’s late charge.

The winning time of one minute 2.36 seconds left Atkinson 0.1 seconds ahead of her great rival, who claimed gold over 100-metre at the London Olympics.

It was also Jamaica’s first ever gold in world swimming championships and Atkinson had come close in the 50-metre final, losing out to Meilutyte on the touch.

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The first black woman to hold a world record in the pool was Enith Brigitha of the Netherlands, some 40 years ago, the report added.

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Published on: Monday, December 08, 2014, 05:30 PM IST