The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says the sprinter, Asafa Powell, became “one of Jamaica’s greatest athletes” because of “a critical eye, care and support” of his coach, family and community.
Minister Grange was speaking at the unveiling of the statue in tribute to Powell on Sunday at the National Stadium.
The Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, unveiled the statue during a special ceremony.
Minister Grange said Asafa Powell’s outstanding career showed “how consistent, determined and strategic support can trigger success of immeasurable proportions.”
The Minister praised Powell’s parents — William and Cislyn — as well as coach Stephen Francis who discovered Asafa after he finished seventh in his final race at Boys and Girls Champs.
“Incredibly, with his coming seventh, Stephen Francis… saw his talent and began to work with him. This inauspicious intervention has led to the creation of one of Jamaica’s greatest athletes,” said Minister Grange.
Asafa Powell is the first Jamaican to break the world record in the 100 metres and has completed the 100 metres in under ten seconds more times than anyone. His world record currently stands at 97 sub-10 seconds finishes. Minister Grange prays that he will be able to make it to a hundred in the near future.
The Minister said the unveiling of the statue of Asafa Powell represented the “fulfilment of a promise we made a few years ago on the back of our unparalleled successes in the field of athletics – that we would create statues in recognition of four of our greatest athletes.”
The renowned Jamaican sculptor, Basil Watson, was commissioned to produce all four sculptures under the Jamaica 55 Legacy Programme.
Minister Grange praised Watson, whom she described as a “national treasure” for his “great work on all four statues, which has assisted us in achieving our objectives.”
According to Minister Grange, “the statues not only highlight Jamaican athletic success but will serve as inspiration for all of us about what is possible when we try.”
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