Ref­eree Errs, Bolt Fumes

(It’s) be­cause it’s Aus­tralia. It’s bi­ased! I’m go­ing to protest that — it makes no sense. I don’t know what hap­pened. I thought if you were DQ’d you’d be out (of the race) for sure or even lose some points but you can’t not lose any points.

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games -

The sec­ond in­stal­ment of the Nitro Ath­let­ics Series ended in farce in Mel­bourne on Thurs­day, with a ref­eree er­ror that ini­tially awarded the Aus­tralia team top rank­ing for the night by mis­take, leav­ing head­line ath­lete Usain Bolt fum­ing.

In the fi­nal 4x10 0 me­tres re­lay event at Lake­side Sta­dium, Aus­tralia were dis­qual­i­fied for a botched ba­ton change and Bolt’s ‘All-Stars’ won the race com­fort­ably. But the hosts were er­ro­neously awarded points that left them at the top of the ta­ble at the ex­pense of the Ja­maican’s team. The mishap was even­tua l ly cor­rected, award­ing the night to the ‘All-Stars’, but not be­fore the live broad­cast of the event had fin­ished and most of the crowd of 6,500 spec­ta­tors, in­clud­ing IAAF Pres­i­dent Se­bas­tian Coe, had filed out of the sta­dium.

Bolt, who ran the third leg of the re­lay, was in­cred­u­lous.

“(It’s) be­cause it’s Aus­tralia. It’s bi­ased!” Bolt yelled at track­side of­fi­cials be­fore the re­sult was cor­rected. “I’m go­ing to protest that - it makes no sense.” “I don’t know what hap­pened. I thought if you were DQ’d you’d be out (of the race) for sure or even lose some points but you can’t not lose any points,” he said.

Or­gan­is­ers said the er­ror lay with an Aus­tralian ref­eree. Bolt was paid a seven-fig ure ap­pear­ance fee to com­mit to all three meet­ings of the series in Mel­bourne this month and given a stake in the com­pany run­ning the event.

The series’ open­ing night last Sat­ur­day was hailed as a suc­cess, with solid tele­vi­sion rat­ings and a de­cent crowd. But the or­gan­is­ers may hope to move on quickly from the sec­ond. The scor­ing prob­lem fol­lowed con­fu­sion dur­ing the women’s mile elim­i­na­tion race, which saw one of the run­ners leave the track in er­ror, wrongly be­liev­ing she had been knocked out for cross­ing the line last be­hind the other run­ners. Adding to the con­fu­sion, New Zealan­der Camille Bus­comb, run­ning for the ‘All-Stars’, ran back on to the track to re-join t he r ac e which was won by Aus­tralia’s Heidi See.

Eight-times Olympic gold medal­list Bolt, in his farewell sea­son, has run only in the re­lays in the open­ing two nights of the series, but he held out the pos­si­bil­ity he might run in the 150 me­tres sprint in the series finale on Sat­ur­day.

“I’ll prob­a­bly have to dou­ble up de­pend­ing on how this meet­ing goes,” he said.

“I’m not in the best of shape, but the more I run the bet­ter I feel. For me I’m just tak­ing it a month at a time, try­ing to en­joy that it’s my last sea­son. I’m not try­ing to over­think any­thing or try­ing to stress my­self.”

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