New Delhi: Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Sunday condoled the death of Olympian sprinter Kenneth Powell, member of the 1970 Asian Games 4x100m relay bronze medal winning team and Arjuna Award winner.
The 82-year-old, described as a gentleman sprinter, passed in Bengaluru.
AFI president Adille J Sumariwalla said the sport had lost a gentleman sprinter in Kenneth Powell’s passing. “Indian athletics grew in stature back in the 60s because of the efforts of athletes like Kenneth Powell who won 19 titles in sprint events in the National Open Championships and National Inter-State Championships,” he said.
“He overcame the disappointment of not being cleared for the Asian Games in Jakarta in 1962 and played a key role in the Indian 4x100m relay team making to the semifinal of the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Similarly, left out of the Asian Games in Bangkok in 1966, he remained motivated and helped India get the relay bronze in 1970 in Bangkok,” he said.
Born on April 20, 1940, in Kolar, Kenneth Powell’s first major competition was the 1957 National School Games in Calcutta where he finished third. It was not until he was 19 when he moved to Bangalore to work with the Indian Telephone Industries that he took up athletics seriously under the eyes of Rangers Club coach Krishna.
Kenneth Powell rose to claim the sprint double in the inaugural National Inter-State Athletics Championships at Allahabad in February 1963, winning the 100m in 10.8 seconds and the 200m in 22.0 seconds. He repeated the feat in 1968 in Madras, winning the 100m dash in 10.7 seconds and the 200m in 21.8 seconds.
Five years after he gave up competitive athletics in 1970, Kenneth Powell represented Karnataka in the National Handball Championships. He returned to the track and won the 40-44 age group 100m silver in the Asian Masters Athletics meet in Singapore in 1981. Later, he also made it to the final of the 45-49 age group in World Masters Championships in Melbourne.