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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Usain Bolt picks Australians with Olympics champions in All Star team

Usain Bolt picks Australians with Olympics champions in All Star team

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Usain Bolt picks Australians with Olympics champions in All Star team

By Michael Gleeson
The Age
January 25 2017

If Usain Bolt is going to come this far to run, he is not planning on losing.

Given the choice of world athletes to join his All Stars team for the Nitro series in Melbourne, Bolt has persuaded five Olympic champions – including one who was the quickest man in the world before him – to join his team.

They will be hard to beat. Athletics has not put all its eggs in the Bolt basket for he has prevailed on some of the bigger names in world athletics – Asafa Powell, Michael Frater, Dawn Harper-Nelson and Kerron Clement – to also join him here.

Four emerging Australian athletes, including former world junior pole vault record-holder Nina Kennedy and world juniors 1500 metres finalist Matthew Ramsden will also compete for Bolt against the Australians.

Bolt's team boasts Rio Olympic 400m hurdles champion Clement and another American, and Beijing Olympic 100m hurdles champion, Dawn Harper-Nelson – a long-time Sally Pearson rival.

Bolt's Jamaican relay teammates Powell and Frater, both Olympic gold medallists, are on the team.

Powell was a world record-holder before Bolt arrived and is still the fourth fastest man of all time. He has broken the 10 seconds barrier for the 100m a record 97 times, which might suggest the term barrier is a loose one in his case.

"Of course I'm going to bring my fellow Jamaicans, they were the first to be picked," Bolt said.
"The team has so much talent across all the events so I'm expecting us to put on a good show, and win, of course.

"I'm happy to have the four young Australians … it's going to be tough for them when we hand Team Australia some trouble, but they are on my team now.

"It's going to be fun. I can't wait to get down to Melbourne, see the crowd and be part of something that will change the sport of track and field."

The nine-time Olympic champion's squad will take on teams from Australia, England, New Zealand, China and Japan at Lakeside Stadium on February 4, 9 and 11.

Australia's young long jumper Naa Anang and three-time national 800m champion Brittany McGowan will also join Bolt's All Stars.

London Olympic relay gold medallist Jeneba Tarmoh from America and world championship 4x400m relay gold winner Christine Day of Jamaica are also on the team along with Jamaica's 100m relay gold winner Natasha Morrison and America's Olympic 200m semi-finalist Jenna Prandini.

Jarrion Lawson who finished fourth in the Olympics in Rio after finger tips scraped the sand on what could or would have been the gold medal-winning jump has already been announced on Bolt's team.
"I'm feeling a range of emotions," Kennedy said of her selection.

"He's the best athlete this sport has ever seen, and looking up to him from such a young age makes competing in the same team as him an unthinkable experience.

"I'm feeling everything from pure excitement to nervous butterflies, I'm excited to try push some big heights at Nitro."

McGowan will compete in the modified distance races such as the elimination mile.

Some tickets are still available for each night of the series through Ticketmaster.

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