THE launch of the Dennis Johnson Diaries and the presentation of the Chancellor's Medal to former 100m world record-holder and 2009 World Championships silver medallist Asafa Powell will take place on Saturday, February 4 during a gala ceremony on the lawns of the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel.
The function is part of the yearlong celebration of the athletic success of the University of Technology (UTech), coined UTech's Road to Olympic Glory, which will culminate with this summer's Olympic Games in London, England,
The diary, written about the life of Dennis Johnson, one of Jamaica's outstanding sprinters who still holds the world record in the 110 yards, will track Johnson's days as a student at Calabar High through his years at Bakersfield College and San Jose University in the United States; his return to Jamaica and starting the Carreras Sports Foundation, and launching the sports programme at the then College of Arts Science and Technology (CAST), later renamed University of Technology (UTech).
Powell is a UTech alumnus and still trains on the campus, along with other members of the Stephen Francis-coached MVP Track and Field Club.
The sprinter has over 70 sub-10 second clockings and until 2008, held the 100m world record of 9.72 seconds.
The medal, which is awarded to an individual who has achieved distinction in a field of innovation; served the university with loyalty and distinction; made an outstanding contribution in fields other than those served by the university and achieved eminence and international recognition, will be presented to Powell by the Chancellor of the university, former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, who is also an avid sport enthusiast and president of the Tivoli Gardens Football Club.
Powell will also receive the Diana Award named in memory and honour of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and is presented to "young people from across the globe who are committed to helping others and improving their community".
The Diana Award chief executive Maggie Turner OBE will be the keynote speaker at the $10,000 per plate function.
Johnson told the Observer that it spoke volumes that all the major 100m world titles were currenlty held by Jamaican athletes.
"This suggests that there must have been a system which was introduced at some time. People are doing well. So it makes me feel very proud and happy and that is why I have tried to establish a next which in terms of academia in terms of sport so we can move up to first-world status and not suffer the indiginity of losing so many cricket matches when we can do that here."
UTech president Professor Errol Morrison told the Observer that many youths have been inspired by Powell.
"In his area of performance we see him as a UTech hero and we really want to recognise him at this time of his career.
"We feel that he has achieved and we want to recognise him for those years of persistence, his humility and his consistency and the way in which he has carried Jamaica proud as an ambassador."
As it related to Johnson, Morrison said: "Without DJ there would be no UTech, as we know it now. There would be no sporting excellence as is domiciled in Jamaica now where our athletes are here and doing well.
"It is the DJ methodology that is being utilised by (them). We feel that Dennis is a hero in a number of ways."