Yona Knight-Wisdom wins Jamaica's first Diving medal at PanAm Games

Fresh from his exploits in the just-completed FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea where he reached the Final of the 1m Springboard event placing a creditable 5th, Jamaican Diver, Yona Knight-Wisdom earned the country’s second medal of the 2019 Pan American Games currently being held in Lima, Peru when he finished second in the Final of the 1m Springboard Event scoring 429.90 points.


The eventual winner was Mexico’s Juan-Manuel Celaya with 435.60 points and winning the Bronze Medal was the USA’s Andrew Capobianco with 411.25 points.


Of interest to the Region is the fact that five (5) other competitors in the Final also competed in the 1m Springboard event in Gwangju, Korea.


In speaking with Yona after his historic second place achievement; he being the first Jamaican to win a Diving medal at the Pan American Games he had this to say:


“I am happy with how I was able to land consistently throughout the event, even with different starts and spin speeds; also with different lighting compared to the Preliminary Round. Round 5 was outstanding, and everything else was pretty much how I perform them in training. It is a challenge to transfer quality from training to competition, and I managed to do that!!!!


The competition was a lot of fun, I enjoyed the energy from the crowd. We had full stands in both the Preliminaries and the Final which we don’t get very often for Diving events, and that really contributed to the atmosphere of the competition and helped all the divers to step up and perform to a high standard.


I was extremely happy to see a huge and personal best score. I wasn’t sure which position I was going in to the final round, but I was confident that I would be in or near to a medal position. I was naturally hoping that the number 1 would come up next to my name bit I was excited to see Number 2 as that ended my three year wait for an International medal!”


Yona next goes into action in the Preliminaries of the 3m on Saturday. Victory for him would earn him automatic qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There is as yet no 1m competition in the Olympic Games.”


When asked if having a Coach with him at events is critical to his success he said that it would help with familiarity and comfort however he does not really think about it as he so often participates in major competitions on his own without the assistance from his personal coach.  He however has the services of his Coach, Rebecca Gallantree with him in Lima, Peru.


Yona has gained so much confidence compared to where he was last year. All his coaches have really assisted him in that area and although he has not changed any techniques, he has just improved certain things which have made the big difference. He closed by saying that there is still a long way to go to get everything right as he prepares for qualification for Tokyo 2020.



Prepared by: Carol Roslyn Cuffley