Usain Bolt and his All Stars have completed a clean sweep of the inaugural Nitro Athletics series after overcoming an an impressive young Australian team including teen sprint sensation Riley Day.
With Asafa Powell and Bolt – the former and current 100m world record holders – running the opening two legs of the deciding 4x100m mixed relay, the All Stars were never going to be beaten.
Their commanding relay victory ensured the All Stars made up a 38-point deficit on Australia to finish first on Saturday night and in top spot overall in the three-meet series.
Eight-time Olympic champion Bolt also won the 150m in 15.28 seconds – his only outing in an individual race in the series – with New Zealand’s Joseph Millar second in 15.44.
“I’m happy – that was great,” said All Stars captain and coach Bolt.
“They all gave us 150 per cent.
“I said ‘we were going to push, we were going to push’ and that’s what we did.”
Bolt was the undisputed star of the series – as he is in every track and field meet graced by his presence.
But the success of the teams-based concept was also due in no small part to the contribution of the likes of Day.
A week ago she was a little-known schoolgirl from the small Queensland town of Beaudesert.
Now she is one of the rising stars of Australian athletics, having capped an astonishing rise by claiming a shock victory on Saturday in a high-quality women’s 150m.
Day clocked a winning time of 17.63, relegating London Olympian Margaret Adeoye from England and and 2015 world championships 100m finalist Natasha Morrison from Jamaica to the minor placings.
“I wasn’t expecting that, to be honest,” said the 16-year-old Day. “I was just trying to catch the girls in front of me and keep the girls behind me, behind me.
“To be running against all these wonderful women is just an honour.”
— Benita Willis (@BenitaWillis) February 11, 2017
Day also finished third in the 60m, but was not asked to go up against Bolt in the concluding mixed 4x100m relay, as had happened back on the opening night of the series.
“(Bolt) just got lucky,” quipped Day.
Australia’s strength was again in the longer track events.
National 1500m record holder Ryan Gregson left it late before storming past training partner Matthew Ramsden – who was wearing the colours of the Bolt All Stars – to win the men’s elimination mile.
— Nitro Athletics (@nitro_aths) February 11, 2017
Little-known Victorian Luke Stevens held his nerve in the concluding leg of the mixed 2x300m relay to edge out reigning Olympic 400m hurdles champ Kerron Clement by just two hundredths of a second.
Morgan Mitchell ran the opening leg of the 2x300m for Australia – one of her three events in a busy program on Saturday night.
Jeff Riseley ensured Australia got full value for the power-play for the first time in the series by running away from Kenyan Elijah Kipchirchir in the closing stages of the mixed three-minute challenge.
Australia finished second behind the All Stars in each of the three meets.