Athletics

Bolt: Nitro concept is what athletics needs

Eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt secured a classy win for his All-Stars team with two impressive runs on the final night of the inaugural Nitro Athletics on Saturday and declared the new format is exactly what track and field needs.

After restricting himself to a leg of the mixed 4x100m relay on each of the first two nights at Melbourne's packed Lakeside Stadium, the world's fastest man contested the 150m, winning convincingly.

Bolt was clearly fastest out of the blocks and around the bend to quickly establish a lead of over 10 metres mid-race, before easing up in the closing stages.

"It was brilliant. It was exciting, it was different," he said of the Nitro concept.

"I knew that this is what track and field needed. I think the energy and vibe and even people from Jamaica who watched it and everybody I talked to said it was a lot of fun."

The 30-year-old Jamaican star clocked 15.28 seconds, less than a second slower than the world record of 14.35 he set over the distance in Manchester in 2009. His world record for 200m, also set in 2009 in Berlin, is 19.19.

New Zealand's Joseph Miller finished strongly in 15.44 with Confidence Lawson of England third in 15.69.

Some 45 minutes later, Bolt again ran the second leg of the mixed 4x100m relay, helping his All Stars take out the final event of the night, as they had at the previous two Nitro meets on Feb 4 and last Thursday.

Bolt took the baton from fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell and stretched the lead before handing over to American Jeneba Tarmoh.

Another Jamaican, Natasha Morrison, ran the final leg to secure victory for the Bolt All Stars and take them to the top of the table on the night to claim the first Nitro trophy ahead of Australia.

Even people from Jamaica who watched it and everybody I talked to said it was a lot of fun.Usain Bolt on the inaugural Nitro Athletics series

Twelve events were contested on each of the three nights, with points awarded for each placing, from 100 points to the winning team down to 40 for the sixth-place finisher.

FRONTMAN

In a bid to sell the Nitro concept globally, Bolt fronted the All-Stars - including athletes from Jamaica, the US and Kenya - against teams representing Australia, England, New Zealand, Japan and China.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe, battling to repair the sport's reputation after a series of major doping and corruption scandals in recent years, was impressed with the Nitro series.

"I thought it was a terrific start," said Coe. "It's an obvious thing to say but, unless we innovate, we are going to become less and less relevant and we can't afford to do that." - WIRE SERVICES

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