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Track legend Asafa Powell enshrined in Memorial Van Damme Hall of Fame

ON Thursday, the prestigious Allianz Memorial Van Damme welcomed three track and field legends into its esteemed Hall of Fame. Among the honorees was the Jamaican sprinting sensation Asafa Powell, whose remarkable career includes being a former 100m world record holder and achieving the remarkable feat of running under 10 seconds an astounding 97 times.
The Allianz Memorial Van Damme, a renowned athletics meeting with a storied history dating back to 1977, has decided to establish a Hall of Fame to pay tribute to athletes who have left an indelible mark on the event. This year, the ceremony welcomed not only Asafa Powell but also track and field icons Marie-José Pérec and Sergey Bubka.

Powell, who has long been associated with the Memorial Van Damme, participated in the event nine times between 2003 and 2017. Over the years, he earned his place as a crowd favorite, competing in the 100m at the King Baudouin Stadium and clinching victory on five occasions.
Wilfried Meert, the former meeting director of the Allianz Memorial Van Damme from 1977 to 2016, recalled Powell’s memorable moments, saying, “Powell then won in 9.87, a Jamaican record. That was of course later wiped off the tables by one Usain Bolt. In 2008, Powell almost beat Bolt at the Memorial. Powell was known for his rocket launch while Bolt with his long frame never took off like a spear. Only in the last 20m did Bolt recover: 9.77 versus 9.83.”
Powell’s legacy extends beyond his wins at meetings. Despite his occasional struggles at major championships, he was a key contributor to the Jamaican relay team, clinching gold at the Olympic Games and World Cup.

In his reaction to the induction, Powell expressed his gratitude, saying, “Honored to be inducted into the hall of fame of the @memorialvandamme along with some legends of the sport. I ran six of my 97 sub-10’s here in Brussels at arguably the best meet in the world. The memories of this place will stay with me forever! I can’t thank Wilfried Meert enough for your support and encouragement through the years. You’ve built an amazing event with creativity and integrity that is second to none. To now be affiliated with the legacy of the meet is truly one of my greatest honors.”

Marie-José Pérec and Sergey Bubka, two other track and field legends, were also honored during the ceremony, further cementing the Allianz Memorial Van Damme’s commitment to celebrating the history and achievements of the sport.Born in Guadeloupe in 1968, Pérec won gold in the 400m at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Four years later in Atlanta, she defended her title and won Olympic gold in the 200m, a phenomenal double. In addition to three Olympic titles, Pérec also has two world and a European 400m titles.

Bubka broke the pole vault world record 35 times, 17 times outdoor, 18 times indoor. He recorded his best jump 30 years ago 6.15m at a meeting in Donetsk. He jumped 6m or higher 47 times in his career.(Sportsmax)