Jamaican Olympian and former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell said he intends to get to that elusive mark of 100 legal sub-10 times and an Olympic medal before he hangs up his spikes.

A personal health crisis is what Olympian Michael Frater said got him interested in the medicinal benefits of cannabis and eventually led to the opening of the 4/20 Therapeutic Bliss dispensary in Manor Park, Kingston on Saturday.

Frater, 38, represented Jamaica at the senior level for more than a decade, winning gold medals as a member of Jamaica’s world-record-setting 4x100m relay teams at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in 2011 and again at the London Olympics in 2012.

He also won a silver medal in the 100m at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland. He was also a 100m champion at the 2003 Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic.

However, about five years ago persistent problems with his knees forced him to retire.

At Saturday’s launch, he explained how those knee problems introduced him to the healing properties of cannabis.

“I had very bad knees, and I remember waking up one day, and my knees were swollen, and I couldn’t walk. I went to the University Hospital (of the West Indies) where I met with Dr (Carl) Bruce and ran some tests but nobody could figure out what was wrong,” he told the gathering that included Jamaica’s Minister of Sports Olivia Grange, former world record holder Asafa Powell and Jamaica and West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle.

Christopher Samuda, President of the Jamaica Olympic Association and Ali McNab, an advisor to the sports minister were also in attendance and were in rapt attention as Frater shared his harrowing experience.

“I had an IAAF (World Athletics) function in Monaco. I remember leaving on Monday and got there on Tuesday and I couldn’t even walk off the plane. They had to send a wheelchair for me,” he recalled.

Initially, doctors in Monaco believed his condition was the result of doping, he said, but subsequent tests disproved their theories even though they were still unable to determine what was the cause of the constant swelling and fluid build-up in his knees.

He spent two weeks in hospital there where doctors ‘patched’ him up enough to enable him to fly home.

A subsequent visit to a medical facility in Florida was also unable to help him get any closer to identifying what was wrong with his knees, he said which left him fearing he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

It was then that his father, Lindel Frater, suggested he tried cannabis oil. He tried it and within a month he felt ‘brand new’, he said.

“I started studying a lot about it and realized that a drug that has been taboo for most of my life is really a miracle drug. It’s really a drug that once taken properly with the proper prescription, the medicinal purposes are exponential.”

Minister Grange applauded the retired Olympian and praised him for his initiative in opening the dispensary. She eventually made the first purchase of medicinal marijuana. Samuda also shared similar sentiments while praising Frater for his venture into the cannabis industry.

Gayle, meanwhile, said Frater’s venture was an example for other retired athletes to emulate.

“I am a big supporter of Michael's career and now his business venture, and from a sportsman's point of view, there is life after your original career and to actually venture in a business is good for him and we are here to support him 100 per cent,” said Gayle.

Powell, who was Frater’s teammate on several national teams, said, his friend and colleague, was always a budding entrepreneur.

“From ever since, Michael has always been the brains among all of us. He has always been driven, business-oriented. I have always admired that about him,” said the former 100m world record holder who brought his wife Alyshia along.

“It’s kind of intimidating sometimes when you’re talking to him, and he is saying some stuff I don’t even know about, so I have always known he would make this step into business.

“He keeps pushing and I am very, very happy for him.”

Asafa Powell has been paying child support to Amita Persaud-Webb but the mother of his child wants the former 100m world record holder to pay more.

Asafa Powell appeared before the Family Court in Jamaica on Thursday over child support payments. Meantime, Powell has requested that the court order a paternity test.

Powel, 37, appeared before the court after the child’s mother Amita Persaud-Webb filed documents seeking financial maintenance of JMD$25,000 a month.

Attorney-at-law Michelle Thomas represents Webb while Annaliesa Lindsay is representing the former world record holder.

The parties are to return to court on October 9.

Toxic masculinity fails men. In some cases, it promotes violence. Despite the tendency to increasingly romanticise it, I think it’s time to take a different approach, especially within the world of sport where it can promote self-harm.

What we need to do is change our way of thinking. Why? Because, as it is now, most athletes glamorize pain. They valourize playing through injuries or discomfort.  Often, there is no limit to what these athletes are willing to sacrifice.  A few infamous examples come readily to mind.

In 1986, boxing great and baddest man on the planet, Mike Tyson, competed while suffering from gonorrhea. He battled Trevor Berbick for the heavyweight title. Tyson won but admitted Mike Jr had been burning badly the whole time. He literally put the most sacred of male parts on the line.

New York Knicks Hall of Famer Willis Reed tore his quad during the 1970 NBA final.  He understandably missed game 6 and no one expected to see him for the rest of the series. Nevertheless, Reed showed up for game 7 and demanded to go on the court.  Although he managed to score only two baskets, the Knick won their first title, competing hurt was praised by fans. Many described it as bravery, but it may have shortened his career.

Famous Japanese gymnast Shun Fujimoto broke his knee while competing at the 1976 Summer Olympics. Amazingly, he went on to score 9.5 on the pommel horse and 9.7 on the rings with the damaged joint.  To finish the routine, he landed from the rings eight feet above the ground and kept his balance before collapsing.  His completion of the routines enabled the team to narrowly defeat the Soviet Union and claim gold, but he could have been permanently disabled.  Would it have been worth it for a medal?

On the flip side, athletes are often ridiculed and judged when they decide to take care of themselves. Take Asafa Powell for instance.

Many times, when Asafa wasn’t at full strength for a race, I remember vividly hearing the words, “Asafa pull up again!!?” His injuries held him back. It wasn’t uncommon seeing him lag behind due to problems with his hamstring.

He also had a lingering groin injury.  This meant sometimes he couldn’t participate or excel in the big races— special races to Jamaicans.  Some fans didn’t take too well to his decisions to sit out. Some figured he was weak.  I understand men want to be strong and in charge but when they think like that, their strength works against them.

In other cases, toxic masculinity can be a hindrance to men comfortably expressing their emotions, even towards those who need it most, their children.

Two years ago, Damian Marley released his song Living It Up. It celebrates a generational victory for the Marley family - making it out of the ghetto. The music video showed Marley traversing the streets of Trench Town with his son.

While journeying through “the birthplace of reggae”, Marley was tender, watchful, attentive, and protective of his son. At one point, his body language said it all. He gently held the back of his son's neck guiding him in a loving way.

Similarly, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing my dad nurture my brother.  It’s something many boys and men may never experience.  Still, the seeds planted by men today can limit the dangers of toxic masculinity tomorrow.

I know the previous paragraph would have been a nice conclusion, but I forgot to mention something:

Countless men are uncomfortable seeing emotions other than anger.

There are times I overhear comments from men watching football. They ruthlessly express their disgust at how footballers celebrate a victory— by hugging each other. Something so innocent. What’s up with that!?? I dare you to hug your dad for Father’s Day.

Asafa Powell broke the 100 metres world record on this day 15 years ago, and the New York Rangers ended a 54-year NHL title drought in 1994.

No man has ever run faster than Usain Bolt over 100m, but Powell was Jamaica's sprint king in 2005.

The Rangers were celebrating at Madison Square Garden 26 years ago, while Canada's cricketers will not want to be reminded of this date in 1979.

We go back in time to look at some memorable sporting moments that have taken place on June 14.

 

1979 - Canada crumble at Old Trafford

A Cricket World Cup contest between England and Canada always looked like it was going to be a mismatch.

That was very much the case in Manchester, where the minnows were skittled out for only 45 - the lowest ODI score in history at the time.

Bob Willis (4-11) and Chris Old (4-8) wreaked havoc, Franklyn Dennis making almost half of Canada's runs before England took just 13.5 overs to seal an eight-wicket win.

 

1994 - Rangers rule in New York

The Rangers had not been crowned NHL champions since way back in 1940 and it looked like they may have blown their chance in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks.

Mike Keenan's side led the series 3-1 after losing the opening match, but the Canucks rallied to force a decider.

The tension was almost unbearable for Rangers fans, but Brian Leetch, Adam Graves and Mark Messier were on target to secure a 3-2 victory and spark a huge party.

There has been no NHL glory for the Rangers since that triumph.

2005 - Powell keeps true to his word in Athens

A 22-year-old Powell said he was ready to break Tim Montgomery's 100m world record in Athens.

His confidence was certainly not unfounded, as he set a new mark of 9.77 seconds at the Olympic Stadium.

"It shows no-one knows how fast a man can run." Powell said after making history. He went faster another three times after Justin Gatlin had gone quicker in 2005.

Bolt holds the current record of 9.58, set in Berlin 11 years ago.

 

2007 - Imperious Spurs sweep Cavs

The NBA Finals 13 years ago proved to be one-sided, with the San Antonio Spurs dominating the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In their 40th season as a franchise, the Spurs wrapped up a 4-0 series victory with an 83-82 win in Cleveland.

Manu Ginobili scored a game-high 27 points as LeBron James' 24-point haul was in vain, with Tony Parker named Finals MVP for Gregg Popovich's side.

Concerns regarding the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus has led to the postponement of the 2020 Grenada Invitational, organisers said in a statement today.

Having broken the 100m world record twice, won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, bronze medals at World Championships and breaking the 10-second barrier a record 97 times in a career that has spanned almost two decades, Asafa Powell will perhaps go down as one of the greatest sprinters in history.

Asafa Powell returned to winning ways on Saturday by taking the men's 60m at the 42nd edition of the Milo Western Relays at GC Foster College at Angels, St Catherine on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Powell of MVP Track Club clocked 6.73 seconds to beat Sprintec Lions' Andrew Fisher in a close finish in section one of the three-section race. Fisher was also credited with the same time as Powell.

Powell was one of the most dominant sprinters of his era, consistently breaking the 10-second barrier and twice setting the world 100m record in 2005 and 2008. The second time he did it with a blazing 9.74 seconds.

Powell also won a gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the Rio Olympics and competed in three Summer Games.

A statue of the sprinter is set to be unveiled at Statue Park inside Independence Park Ltd on Sunday.

Sports Minister Olivia Grange says all is set for the unveiling of the statue of Jamaican Olympian Asafa Powell on Sunday, February 9.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness will unveil the statue in a special ceremony at Statue Park in the National Stadium, beginning at 5:00 pm.

Minister Grange has invited the public to attend the ceremony and witness the unveiling of the statue.

Minister Grange said: “This is the final of four statues that we commissioned as part of the Jamaica 55 Legacy programme to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding athletes.

The statues not only highlight Jamaican athletic success but will serve as inspiration for all of us about what is possible when we try.

So I invite as many people as possible to join us on Sunday and celebrate with Asafa.

”The renowned Jamaican sculptor Basil Watson was engaged by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport to design statues in honour of Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell.

 In light of the postponement of the World Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, organisers of the Milo Western Relays have responded to a request from several of Jamaica’s elite athletes to include the 60m dash in the schedule of the meet set for Saturday, February 8, at the GC Foster College in St. Catherine.

Former world record holder Asafa Powell is confident he will get to the elusive target of 100 sub-10 clockings sometime in the coming season, despite insisting that it is not necessarily a primary focus.

Powell, who set the world record twice, first in 2005 (9.77) before lowering the mark in 2007 (9.74), has the most sub-10 clockings in history with 97.  The 37-year-old has, however, been hampered by injury in recent years and has struggled to dip below the mark in recent years.

The runner has not managed to go below the mark since 2016, when he clocked 9.92.  With a solid preseason behind him, however, Powell feels he is ready to get back to his best form and achieving the target is well within his grasp.

“Based on how training has been going this year I expect it to be a walk in the park,” Powell said of getting to 100 sub-10 clockings.

“I’m not really focusing on that it will come naturally.  I’m focused on going to the national trials where you have to go sub-10 and on the Diamond League circuit you have to go sub-10, so I’m not focusing on it,” he said.

“I’m just taking it step by step and making sure I stay healthy.”

Former 100m record holder Asafa Powell has insisted he remains in great shape to compete despite being dismissed as an 'old guy' by a competitor at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday.

In his prime, Powell cast an enviable figure for many sprinters, his picture-perfect running style taking him to a world record time of 9.77 in 2005 and then lowering that mark with a time of 9.74 in 2007.  The Jamaican went on to clock the most sub-10 second times for any sprinter with a total of 98.

In recent years, Powell, who has been plagued by injuries, has struggled to reach close to such heights.  On Saturday, the sprinter finished in 5th place in the men’s 60m, with a time of 6.71, expectedly well off his best of 6.44.  His efforts seemed to do little to impress United States sprinter Demek Kemp.  The 23-year-old South Carolina representative took the event in a personal best time of 6.50. 

"Feels great," Kemp said of the run.

"I had some good competition. Glad to have a personal record,” he added.

He clearly did not feel Powell was among them, however.

"He's an old guy," Kemp said when asked about competing against the Jamaican.

For his part, Powell, who insisted the run was about testing his legs, however, claims he is feeling as good as ever and is confident he should still be competing.

“I am still feeling very strong, still feeling as fast as I did years ago,” Powell told Track Alerts.

“With the entire Jamaica is motivating me, and with that kind of support, it’s hard to give up,” he added.

 

The statue of former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell will be unveiled at the National Stadium on Sunday, February 9 at 4:00 pm.

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