His presence made the place known globally, at least among athletics enthusiasts. She put on a show and lent her face to charity initiatives. He was simply an icon. The symbol of Lignano that runs fast said stop. At the age of 40, Asafa Powel, Jamaican, former world record holder in the 100 meters who retired on the Adriatic coast, between the Teghil stadium and the Fra I Pini hotel, trained for more than ten summers.
“We did the math together a few days ago: adding up all the periods, he stayed in our facility for four and a half years,” underlined Marco Vaccari, owner of the hotel where Asafa was staying. From 2006 to 2014, that is until the 18-month disqualification for doping, and in the two-year period 2018-2019 the sprinter was based in Lignano, attracting the curious, insiders, young people who wanted to approach athletics. And the world record that he established in September 2007, that fabulous 9”74 established in Rieti, he had built right on the shores of the Adriatic. It didn’t last long, because already in the spring of 2008 his compatriot, Usain Bolt, then dropped to 9”72, a time also signed by Asafa. Powell was a very good sprinter, author of the highest number of times under 10” in the world (98!) but unable to express himself at a high level in large events: his best result was the two bronze medals out of the 100m at the world championships in Osaka 2007 and Berlin 2009. In the 4x100m relay he won two world titles (2009 and Beijing 2015) and one Olympic title (Rio 2016). “We’ve always kept in touch, we talk once a month – Vaccari said -. He has become one of the family, a good friend. He arrived in late June and left in mid-September.
In Lignano he always trained hard. I remember that we only made two trips, one to Venice and the other to Maranello». And Giorgio Dannisi was a testimonial of the Sport and Solidarity meeting in Lignano, also running with disabled children: «He did it with his heart – recalled the organizer -. He was the driving force for our competition, in which he participated, and for Lignano ». Will he come back here? “He said yes, because he wants to show his family where he spent his summers,” concluded Vaccari. On the shores of the Adriatic they will be ready to welcome him with open arms.