Thu | Jun 30, 2022

Alex Powell’s difficult balancing act

Published:Saturday | May 21, 2022 | 12:09 AMSharla Williams/Gleaner Writer
Powell
Powell
Alex Powell in action on the race track.
Alex Powell in action on the race track.
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Many children who compete in sports internationally often have difficulties balancing sports and having a normal childhood. This is something 14-year-old race kart driver Alex Powell can relate to. “It’s not easy to balance my sport along with...

Many children who compete in sports internationally often have difficulties balancing sports and having a normal childhood. This is something 14-year-old race kart driver Alex Powell can relate to.

“It’s not easy to balance my sport along with having a normal childhood, since I am racing every other weekend of the year,” he said. “When I’m not racing, I’m working and preparing myself both physically and mentally, along with keeping up with my schoolwork.”

Powell said his sporting career has also affected his relationship with his family and friends.

“Since I had to move away to Europe to further pursue my racing endeavours, I unfortunately lost contact with most of my childhood friends back home in the Caribbean, (but) I have kept contact with a few of them,” he said. “I also get to see my family at Christmas when I go back home.”

Powell, who made his karting debut in 2015, said there are some positive and negative effects to competing internationally at a young age.

“One positive impact of competing on an international stage at a young age is that you get so much experience and knowledge that can help you later on in your motorsport career, (while) one negative impact is that you lose a lot of your childhood because you’re always away and racing,” he said.

Many studies say that people who start competing in sports competitively as a child are often more prone to getting physical and mental injuries, such as burnout, that could affect the progression of their sporting careers.

Powell said he has taken precautions to limit the possibility of these.

MENTAL TOUGHNESS

“I keep to a specific routine and I’m always working to keep myself as mentally strong as possible. Mental toughness is an important trait that a racing driver has to have at any level. I ensure that I’m always doing my best, which in turn boosts my confidence and morale,” he said.

He said racing is not all about the competition for him, as he has fun doing it.

“Every time that I go on the racetrack, I’m having fun and enjoying myself, (and) whenever I’m out there on the track, my goal is always to give it the best that I can,” he said.

He said, whenever he is not racing, he likes to play tennis, which he recently started. But he also has to make sure he is keeping up with his schoolwork.

“Balancing sports and academics is very difficult (but) I always do my best to not fall behind in any of my subjects,” he said. “It is definitely the most difficult task, but I always have great support from my school that helps me keep up with my schoolwork.”

He said these experiences from playing sports internationally have taught him many valuable life lessons.

“I’ve learned to never give up and to never lose faith, no matter what the situation may be or the circumstances you are in,” he said.

At age 11, Powell made history by becoming the first Jamaican and Caribbean driver to sign with a Formula One (F1) team.

Mercedes-AMG F1 made the official announcement in April 2019.