Jamaica's Usain Bolt competes in the mixed 4 x 100 meter relay at the Nitro Athletics meet in Melbourne
Jamaica's Usain Bolt competes in the mixed 4 x 100 meter relay at the Nitro Athletics meet in Melbourne Andy Brownbill

Day lights up Nitro with Bolt battle

ATHLETICS: Usain Bolt has labelled the debut of Nitro Athletics as a promising start.

The world's fastest man was impressed with the atmosphere the 7000 strong crowd at Lakeside Stadium generated for the revolutionary teams event.

"It was a lot of fun,” Bolt said. "The crowd came out and supported and I'm urging more people to come out on Thursday and next Saturday because it's a great event.

"It is the first time, we will find kinks and we'll make it better, but it was a good start for me.”

Bolt appeared in the final event of the evening, a mixed 4x100m relay where he ran the second leg opposed to a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Queensland.

Riley Day congratulates Zoe Hobbs of New Zealand following the Women's 150m
Riley Day congratulates Zoe Hobbs of New Zealand following the Women's 150m TRACEY NEARMY

Riley Day took two weeks off her Year 12 studies to travel down from Beaudesert to race the greatest sprinter in history.

"It was a different experience, definitely running against males is a bit different and we'll improve our changeovers for the next night, " Day said.

"He (Bolt) was talking smack, saying 'We're going to win, we're going to win'. I was like 'I'm not taking this'.

"I was watching him go and thinking 'OK that's fine', I'll just run my own race and get the baton to Alex (Hartmann), that was my job.”

Day also raced in the 150m event where she finished second to Bolt All-Stars sprinter Jenna Prandini.

"I was ecstatic and it was a PB too (in the 150m), I mean she is an Olympian and I'm a 16-year-old schoolgirl so I was ecstatic with that,” she said.

"Three months ago I never thought I'd be here signing autographs. I had to practice it to make sure I get it right.”

Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt (left) and Asafa Powell of the Bolt All-Stars
Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt (left) and Asafa Powell of the Bolt All-Stars TRACEY NEARMY

Bolt, who has a financial stake in the Nitro brand, said he enjoyed lining up against Day in the mixed format.

"From the start I was talking smack, that is what makes it so good, they know we are kidding but we're just having fun,” Bolt said.

"It's different, they're not used to actually engaging with your competitors. It's different, it's fun for the athletes, everyone was smiling and enjoying it.

"And that's what we wanted, that's what we wanted for the sport.”

Bolt's team ended up tasting victory on night one collecting 1080 points with Australia finishing a close second on 1050.

The locals had dominated early in proceedings winning the mixed distance medley easily with Ryan Gregson finishing the job with almost 50 metres to spare.

Crowd favourite Michelle Jenneke got the victory in the 100m hurdles in 13.76 sec while Kurtis Marschall tied for first in the men's pole vault.

Usain Bolt signs autographs for fans  at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne
Usain Bolt signs autographs for fans at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne TRACEY NEARMY

Team captain Genevieve LaCaze and Luke Mathews were outstanding to win the mixed three-minute challenge while Rio Olympic Mitchell Morgan got her second win for the evening in the 2x300m mixed relay with Luke Stevens.

The much anticipated long jump battle between Australia's Fabrice Lapierre and American Jarrion Lawson lived up to its billing but it was the Bolt All-Stars man who go the win with a leap of 7.94m - 5cm ahead of the local favourite.

In a thrilling elimination mile - where the last-placed runner of each lap is eliminated - Western Australia's Matthew Ramsden, who was a late call-up to the Bolt All-Stars, upstaged Australia's Jeff Riseley.

Australia struck back in the women's event with Rio Olympian Linden Hall dominating, cruising home by 40 metres from Bolt All-Star's Selah Buslenei.


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