Us­ain Bolt in hurry to bring Twenty20 suc­cess to track

Global Times - Weekend - - SPORTS - AFP

The ath­let­ics world is hop­ing to cash in on the suc­cess of cricket’s high-oc­tane Twenty20 for­mat with a new team event spear­headed by Us­ain Bolt which starts Satur­day in Aus­tralia.

The in­au­gu­ral Nitro Ath­let­ics in Mel­bourne, which will also be held on Fe­bru­ary 9 and 11, fea­tures non­tra­di­tional events such as mid­dle-dis­tance and hur­dles re­lays.

World 100-me­ter record holder Bolt said Fri­day, “We just want to make it more ex­cit­ing so I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing the crowd re­ac­tion to what we are do­ing.”

Twelve events each evening will in­clude an elim­i­na­tion mile, where the slow­est run­ners are knocked out af­ter each lap un­til three com­peti­tors con­test the fi­nal cir­cuit.

Male and fe­male run­ners will also ac­cu­mu­late team points in a 60-me­ter dash, the 150 me­ters and a 2x300-me­ter re­lay.

Bolt will be sup­ported by US Olympic hur­dle cham­pion Ker­ron Cle­ment and sprinter Asafa Pow­ell to try to draw in the crowds. “I think it’s go­ing to be great, it’s go­ing to be like cricket, but Twenty20,” Bolt said Thurs­day.

The for­mat sees an All-Star team cap­tained by the Ja­maican sprinter com­pete against teams from Aus­tralia, China, Ja­pan, Eng­land and New Zealand.

Aus­tralia’s Twenty20 Big Bash League smashed spec­ta­tor and tele­vi­sion view­er­ship records this sea­son pulling in fam­i­lies and younger spec­ta­tors. Crowds av­er­aged 30,114 a game, Cricket Aus­tralia said.

Ath­let­ics Aus­tralia chief Phil Jones said there was a need to lift spec­ta­tor and spon­sor­ship in­ter­est in ath­let­ics out­side the Olympic Games and World Cham­pi­onships.

“We have a num­ber of back­ers,” he told the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion.

The con­cept is sup­ported by In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions Pres­i­dent Se­bas­tian Coe.

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