Opportunity to dive for Jamaica at the Olympics excites Yohan Eskrick-Parkinson

By December 19, 2021
Eskrick-Parkinson (right) seen here with Yona Knight-Wisdom is eager to don national colours in diving. Eskrick-Parkinson (right) seen here with Yona Knight-Wisdom is eager to don national colours in diving.

For the past seven years, Yona Knight-Wisdom was the sole face of Jamaican diving, representing the country at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games and the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

That could be about to change as another talented young diver has emerged, eager to represent the land of wood and water.

Those watching would have got the first glimpse of Yohan Eskrick-Parkinson diving synchro with Knight-Wisdom at the Scottish National and Open Diving Championships from December 2-5 at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.

The newly forged pair finished second in the 3m synchro with a decent score of 375.60 and already the senior partner has begun to have a positive influence on the newcomer.

“Diving with Yona was an unparalleled learning experience,” Yohan tells Sportsmax. TV.

“Yona's experience with diving is immense, and exposure to an Olympic athlete's lifestyle and training was a chance for me to learn what it takes to perform at such a high level. Yona is an exemplary mentor and leader.”

Yohan was born in Calgary, Canada, in 2000 to Canadian Melissa Escrick and Jamaican Desmond Parkinson and began diving when he was just eight years old.

Growing up in Calgary, he attended high school at the National Sport School (NSS) while he trained for diving. Deciding that he wanted to explore possibilities for diving at the NCAA level, Yohan got accepted to Northwestern University where he is in his fourth year studying Neuroscience with plans to attend medical school.

Diving for Northwestern, Yohan was a two-time finalist (1m, 3m) at the 2020 Big 10 Conference Championships. He was also a finalist in the 1m   springboard at the conference championships in March.

It was while in high school that Yona first came to Yohan’s attention and he has followed his career ever since.

“I had been urged on by several coaches to look into the possibility of diving for Jamaica and began pursuing this in my second year of college,” he said. “Yona really paved the way for me and inspired me to dive for Jamaica.”

In early 2019, he decided to reach out to Knight-Wisdom to find out how he began diving for Jamaica and they developed a relationship.

“He got in touch with me on Instagram just sending me a few videos of him diving,” Knight-Wisdom explained.

“We spoke a little without making any plans, then after Tokyo was out of the way I decided to see if we could make something happen.”

That they did at the Scottish Championships earlier this month after training together for about a week.

“Training synchro with Yona was a success. Of course, it can be challenging to truly know how well we would sync up just by watching each other’s diving, so travelling to Scotland to train together was an important step in the process of seeing if synchro might be a possibility,” Yohan said.

“Thankfully, the synchro went well from the start, and we only had to make some minor adjustments to achieve rudimentary synchronization. This is a small but very important step towards taking our synchro team internationally. I believe we have a lot of potential moving forward.”

Already a Jamaican citizen, Yohan is awaiting his Jamaican passport with the intention of representing Jamaica at future events in the coming years starting in 2022.

“As diving is still a new sport for Jamaica, my goal is to compete and see how far I can go both individually and in synchro. It is an amazing opportunity to be among the first divers to have represented Jamaica in diving. I hope my performance inspires more Jamaicans to pursue diving in the future,” he said.

In the meantime, Yohan is focused on the next phase of his studies, already recognizing the significant challenge of studying medicine while training and competing as a diver. Nonetheless, he hopes to overcome the challenges with the hope of representing the country of his father’s birth at the very highest level.

“Currently, I am at a transition stage both academically and athletically where I am finishing college in the spring and planning to move on to graduate school. I have applied to several medical schools and am also applying to several masters as a backup plan in case I have to take a couple of gap years before reapplying for medical school,” he explained.

“Although diving through medical school would be a big challenge due to the intensity of studying, I will continue training through the summer and see what opportunities arise to continue my pursuit of the sport.

“I will first take the necessary steps to perform at some international events in 2022 and evaluate if the Olympics is a possibility.  The opportunity to try to qualify for the Olympics for team Jamaica is very exciting for me, and I will continue to work hard over next year and see how I place on an international scale.”

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • France's sports minister backs Mbappe to shine in 2024 Olympics after confirming PSG stay France's sports minister backs Mbappe to shine in 2024 Olympics after confirming PSG stay

    France's sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera believes Kylian Mbappe will be the poster boy for the Paris Olympic Games.

    Mbappe last week decided to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, despite having widely been expected to join Real Madrid on a free transfer.

    The 23-year-old has signed a three-year deal with PSG, keeping him at the Parc des Princes until 2025.

    It is a move that Oudea-Castera believes benefits the whole of France, as she suggested Mbappe, already a World Cup winner, will now be the star for the country to get behind in the 2024 Olympics.

    "To be on the field, in our magnificent sites, to represent his country at the Olympic Games in 2024, he has always dreamed of it and he will make so many of us dream of it," she told RMC Sport, as quoted by Le Parisien. 

    "It's a big 'YES' in capital letters. PSG will be fully behind the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I am certain that all this will happen."

    Oudea-Castera thinks Mbappe is worth the huge salary the Ligue 1 champions are paying him.

    "The amounts are very high, but that rewards an immense talent, constant work. He is a huge worker, sport also has its big stars as has entrepreneurship," she added.

    "It's not dirty or ugly, especially since he gives a lot. Kylian makes his values clear, he is very committed."

    Oudea-Castera also had a word for Mbappe's France team-mate Karim Benzema, who she backed to win the Ballon d'Or after an extraordinary season with Madrid that might culminate in a Champions League triumph, with Los Blancos facing Liverpool in Paris on Saturday.

    "He has a good chance [of winning the Ballon d'Or]," she said. 

    "We are all behind him, it would be a very nice reward."

  • Olympic silver medalist Christania Williams working on a comeback, one race at a time Olympic silver medalist Christania Williams working on a comeback, one race at a time

    Jamaican Olympian Christania Williams is making a comeback from some tough times with the hopes of getting back to her best in the near future.

    The 27-year-old former Edwin Allen High School star last showed up last weekend, May 7, 2022, at the JAAA/SDF Jubilee Series meet at the National Stadium in Kingston where she produced times of 11.62 to finish third in her preliminary round heat and then ran a season-best 11.55 in the final for a sixth-place finish behind winner Shericka Jackson (11.00).

    She revealed afterwards that after enduring a rough period, she is hoping to improve with each race she runs this season.

    “I have been through a lot. I am happy to be here. The main focus right now is just me against me and improving in each race,” said Williams afterwards while also revealing that she is no longer a member of the Tumbleweed training group in Jacksonville, but was training elsewhere in Florida.

    She declined to reveal where or with whom.

    “I am not training on my own but for now I am not sharing that information,” she said.

    The talented sprinter won silver medals for Jamaica in the 100m and 4x100m relay at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast and also won a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay squad.

    She ran a lifetime best of 10.96 in the 100m semi-finals in Brazil and finished eighth in the final won by Elaine Thompson-Herah. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was third.

    At the time she was a member of the MVP Track Club in Kingston but she eventually left for the Rana-Reider led Tumbleweed Training Group in Jacksonville, Florida in early 2020, just before the world shut down in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Like most of the world’s athletes, Williams did not compete in 2020. In 2021, she ventured into a few indoor meets and had a season-best 7.14 in Fayetteville in February. Another four races followed outdoors, the last of them occurring on May 31 when she ran 11.38 at the Duvall County Challenge in Jacksonville.

    April 23, 2022, almost a year later was the next time she raced; at the Tru Fit Athletic Sprint Series in Miami, Florida where she ran 11.54 for a fourth-place finish in her heat and then 11.79 for seventh in the final.

     

  • Henderson elected as first female TTOC President Henderson elected as first female TTOC President

    Experienced sports administrator Diane Henderson became the first female and eleventh President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) at the historic first virtual election held on April 30th, 2022.

    The election of officers took place after the conclusion of the 75th Annual General Meeting (AGM).

    Ms. Henderson won by a margin of 24 votes to 10 over the other contender Rowena Williams, with 70 percent of the vote.

    “Thank you to the general council for entrusting me in leading the TTOC and taking on this new mantle. I am stoked and thrilled in demonstrating my leadership abilities to carry the organization into the new world of sport, innovation and commercialism,” she said.

    “It would be remiss of me not to mention my predecessor, Mr. Brian Lewis, for his unstinting dedication and commitment to the TTOC/TTCGA/TTSBGA. Nothing has gone unnoticed. Thanks also to everyone who supported me throughout my sporting and other careers leading to this occasion. I look forward to working with each and every one of you, especially the new Executive Board” she added.

    President Henderson has contributed significantly to sports governance, athlete welfare, strategic planning and sports mediation.

    As Chair of Women in Sport Commission, she has been a key proponent for the continued push for Education in Sport in Trinidad and Tobago.

    Ms. Henderson has a demonstrated history of working in sports management, being the first female on the executive board of the NAAA’s leaving a line of female executive members who contributed to its progress and has been an integral member and very instrumental in several aspects of development at the TTOC.

    She is also the current Chairperson of the Trinidad and Tobago Marathon Committee where she has been responsible for the final decision-making on event coordination, developing race portals, social media upkeep, website coordination and private sector fundraising.

    Ms. Henderson, who attained both an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTATT), has four decades of proven leadership at both Colfire and Angostura, where she left a legacy of health and wellness in their respective industries.

    President Henderson will also serve as President of the Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA) and the Trinidad and Tobago Sand and Beach Games Association (TTSBGA).

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.