Tue | Sep 19, 2017

I want to give more to Jamaica - Powell

Published:Saturday | October 29, 2016 | 10:00 AMShayne Fairman
Powell

His time on the track may be winding to a close, but influential Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell is hoping that when he does hang up his spikes, his time off the track will be largely spent giving back to the society.

"It is really amazing, the effect that we (athletes) have on people. There is a lot more that we can do as athletes," Powell said.

"Post retirement, boy, this retirement thing!" Powell laughed.

"I really just want to help Jamaica. You have kids coming up who would want to be in my shoes one day and want to be in all the athletes' shoes, so I am just trying my best to do as much as I can to be a good role model for everyone," he pointed out.

Powell, through his Asafa Powell Foundation (APF) handed over $560,000 to the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) yesterday.

The funds were raised via an online #SpreadABed4KPH crowd funding campaign.

"To see that we can stop traffic, crime, everything in maybe nine seconds or whatever time it is ... just for us to come together," he pointed out, while assuring he would like to see social initiatives in the fight against crime.

"It's up to Jamaica and the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association to really form something for the athletes to help a lot more," he continued.

The athlete, who also contributed part of his personal funds from participating at Rio 2016 Olympic Games, said he wants to live a life of making a difference in the country and help with social responsibilities.

Powell called it "a great feeling" to give back to Jamaica.

"When I am home sitting down, where I go on the balcony and chill, everyone who pass by can see me, they pass by they shout 'Asafa, Asafa, big up!'" the sprinter reasoned.

"The reception I get from people is just amazing, and sometimes I sit back and ask why these people love me so much. It's just crazy how the people of Jamaica love me. You want that from your country, this is where you should get the love," he explained.

While Powell's foundation, which was started a few years ago, may have been dormant for some time, Powell said he has changed a few members and will be restarting it in full effect.

"We have a lot more things in store. As the years go by, we have a lot more plans and bigger plans.We will re-launch the foundation and will be doing other things," continued Powell.

Speaking of reaching out, the Sub-10 Sprint King said he personally got in touch with American sprinter Tyson Gay, who lost his daughter recently to gun violence in the United States.

"Definitely reached out to him. This is something that is so sad and shouldn't happen to anybody, and I felt really bad knowing he is a fellow competitor of mine.

"I reached out to him, and the response that I got is very surprising. I didn't know he is someone who respected me that much, and now I have a different kind of respect for him now after this tragic incident,' Powell outlined.