I want to give more to Ja – Pow­ell

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORT - Shayne Fair­man Gleaner Writer

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 re­launch 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.


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