Thu | Feb 20, 2020

Top brass - ‘Sub-10 King’ Asafa Powell ­immortalised in statue

Published:Monday | February 10, 2020 | 12:12 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Asafa Powell (left) and wife Alyshia (second left), with son Amieke, greet Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) and Sports Minister Olivia Grange upon arrival at Independence Park yesterday.
Sprint icon Asafa Powell (centre) shares a light moment with Sports Minister Olivia Grange (left) and Prime Minister Andrew Holness in front of his newly unveiled statue at Independence Park yesterday.
Asafa Powell (right) greets friend and cricket icon Chris Gayle, who was in attendance at his statue unveiling at Independence Park in Kingston yesterday.
Asafa Powell (left) receives a congratulatory hug from proud mother Cislyn Powell (second left) while his father William Powell (right) looks on.
Olympian Asafa Powell (right) inspects the maquette given to him by sculptor Basil Watson (left) as Sports Minister Olivia Grange (second left) and Prime Minister Andrew Holness look on at the unveiling of his statue at Independence Park in Kingston, yesterday.
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One of the fastest men ever in world history, born here in Jamaica, has now been immortalised.

Asafa Powell, the former 100m world record holder was honoured in a ceremony last night at Independence Park, where his statue was unveiled in front of an appreciative crowd. They celebrated his achievements and the contributions that he has made to Jamaicans track and field.

Created by sculptor Basil Watson, the statue named ‘Sub-10 King’ sees Powell’s likeness rocketing out of the blocks. The name given to his likeness was appropriate in recognising the number of times that he has broken the 10-second barrier during his career.

CLOSE SUPPORT

Powell was surrounded by family, friends, and well-wishers, including fellow Olympians Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Michael Frater, Nesta Carter, and cricket legend Chris Gayle. He expressed his gratitude to those who had a hand in shaping his sprinting career, most notably MVP Track Club coach Stephen Francis, who made him believe that he could become a world beater.

“(It was) someone telling me from country that I can be the fastest in the world, and I really admire him for that,” Powell said.

The man who has broken the 10-second barrier 97 times in his career hoped that his achievements could inspire the next generation to attain similar accolades regardless of their background or circumstance.

“Let this be a testament to you guys that anything is possible,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you are from. It’s just hard work (and) dedication. Believe in yourself, and everything will be possible.”

Powell broke the world record in 2005 in Athens, Greece, in 9.77 seconds, surpassing Tim Montgomery’s 2002 record of 9.78. The feat began a three-year ownership of the title “World’s Fastest Man” in which he ran sub-10 second times consistently over that period. He would equal the record twice in 2006 at Gateshead in England and in Zurich, Switzerland.

In 2007, he reset the world record, clocking 9.74 seconds in Rieti, Italy, and would hold on to it until his compatriot, Usain Bolt, claimed the record for his own in May 2008. He went legally under 10 seconds 15 times in 2008, the most of any male athlete that season.

In addition to his statistical achievements, he claimed the individual Commonwealth 100m title in 2006 and has two World Championship medals. He contributed to Jamaica’s gold-medal performances in the 4x100m in the world championships and the Olympics, respectively.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com

Asafa Powell fact file:

Born: November 23, 1982

Place of Birth: Spanish Town, Jamaica

Height: 6’3”

High School: Charlemont High School

Track Club: MVP Track Club

Events: 100m, 200m

Personal bests: 9.72s (100), 19.90s (200m)

Achievements

Olympics

Gold – 4x100m – Rio 2016

 

World Championships

Gold – 4x100m – Beijing 2015

Gold – 4x100m – Berlin 2009

Silver – 4x100m – Osaka 2007

Bronze – 100m – Berlin 2009

Bronze – 100m – Osaka 2007

 

Commonwealth Games

Gold – 100m – Melbourne 2006

Gold – 4x100m – Melbourne 2006

 

Most sub 10 seconds clockings in history – 97

Former 100m world record holder – 9.77s (Athens, Greece 2005)

– 9.74s (Rieti, Italy 2007)