Olympian and India's 1970 Asian Games 4x100m relay bronze-winning team member Kenneth Powell died on Sunday in Bengaluru, the Athletics Federation of India said. He was 82.
Powell was one of the top sprinters in the country in the nineteen sixties. He overcame the disappointment of failing to make it to the 1962 Asian Games and played a key role in the Indian 4x100m relay team reaching 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 4x100m relay bronze in 1970 in Bangkok.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) condoled the death of Powell, who is also an Arjuna awardee.
AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said the sport has lost a gentleman sprinter in Powell's passing. “Indian athletics grew in stature back in the 60s because of the efforts of athletes like Kenny Powell who won 19 titles in sprint events in the National Open Championships and National Inter-State Championships,” he said.
Born on April 20, 1940, in Kolar, Karnataka, Powell's first major competition was the 1957 National School Games in then Calcutta where he finished third.
It was not until he was 19 when he moved to then Bangalore to work with the Indian Telephone Industries that he took up athletics seriously under the eyes of Rangers Club coach Krishna.
Powell rose to claim the sprint double in the inaugural National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Allahabad in February 1963, winning the 100m race in 10.8 seconds and the 200m in 22.0 seconds.
He repeated the feat in 1968 in then Madras, winning the 100m dash in 10.7 seconds and the 200m in 21.8 seconds.
Five years after he quit competitive athletics at the senior level in 1970, 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 at the World Masters Championships in Melbourne.