Asafa Powell retires from track-and-field after nearly two decades
Asafa Powell (Photo: AFP)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — One of the most enduring sprinters of all time, Asafa Powell, has retired from track-and-field after nearly two decades.

The Jamaican made the announcement via Twitter on Saturday (November 26), three days after celebrating his 40th birthday.

"Was a great week of celebrating my birthday and officially putting down my spikes, opening a new chapter in my life," Powell tweeted.

The former world record holder last raced in May 2021, according to World Athletics. He did not compete at Jamaica’s Olympic Trials last year.

Conditioned at the Papine, St Andrew-based MVP track and field club, at the height of his career, Powell competed at four Olympic Games – Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. He was part of the Jamaican 4x100m relay team that won gold in Rio.

Powell also has the distinction of running under 10 seconds over 100 metres an astounding 97 times, the most by any athlete. He last did so in September 2016. He also held the world record twice from 2005 to 2008, setting a mark of 9.77 at the Athens Super Grand Prix in 2005, before lowering the mark to 9.74 at the Rieti Diamond League on September 9, 2007.

His world record was subsequently broken by his countryman, Usain Bolt, who was in attendance on Wednesday as Powell celebrated his birthday.

Of note is that Powell is the fastest man in history without an Olympic or World 100m title. The other men who ran 9.77 or faster – Bolt, the Jamaican Yohan Blake, and the American Maurice Greene have won both or one of the two big titles.

Powell has won two individual World Championship bronze medals as well as the Commonwealth Games 100m gold in 2006. He also won gold medals as part of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay teams at the 2009 and 2015 World Championships.

Bolt, his long time friend, who was present at his birthday party on Wednesday, told Powell to enjoy his retirement.

“Feel free to put on some weight like me,” Bolt joked.

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