BY RICHARD JOHNSON—–
THE courageous fourth-place finish in the 100-metre breaststroke by Jamaican swimmer Alia Atkinson at the Olympics in London yesterday, had reggae and dancehall artist Sean Paul in tears.
“I was so proud of her, tears come to my eyes,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “It was tears of joy because I know what it takes to participate at that level. I know how much they sacrifice friends and family in order to go to training… It’s hard, and when you reap success like Alia, it is worth it,” he said.
Top: Alia Atkinson
Bottom: Sean Paul
Sean Paul, a former competitive swimmer and water polo player, represented Jamaica at various levels.
In 1989 and 1992, he was part of the Jamaican delegation to the CARIFTA Swimming Championships and in 1994 he made the national water polo team to the Junior Pan American Games in Puerto Rico.
His roots in the pool are deep. His grandfather, Ronald Henriques was a part of Jamaica’s first water polo team which participated in the 1966 Commonwealth Games held here in Jamaica, while his parents were also competitive swimmers, who also represented the country.
Sean Paul credits his years in the pool for giving him a sense of discipline which he takes into his music.
“The discipline you gain from training allows you to gear your mind to put in the work in order to achieve what you gear you mind towards,” he said.
He, therefore, is encouraging government to put more into sports and education in order to foster a more disciplined society.
The artist is currently in Jamaica for a respite from the engagements to promote his latest album, Tomahawk Technique.
“The past few months have been really hectic to promote the album. I have been actively working at promoting in different countries and each territory acts differently and so my plans have had to be adjusted accordingly.”
Sean Paul noted that it was the schedule which resulted in him missing this year’s Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay just over one week ago, as well as the numerous events currently taking place at the Olympics.
While home, Sean Paul will be performing at the anniversary concert for sound system Coppershot, which forms part of the Dream Week series of parties kicking off in Negril on Wednesday.
Following that event he is off to Europe for a number of gigs in Germany where he says there is a growing market for Tomahawk Technique.
As for new music, the Grammy-winning artist says he just completed the video for a new single, Bless Up the Nation which was shot in California.
He is also looking forward to the North American release of Tomahawk Technique, which is set for September.
“I am looking forward to dropping the album in the US and Canada. You really want to have your music everywhere and North America is the biggest market that is close to us and I definitely want it there.” Sean Paul said.