08/02/2017

Asafa Powell says Nitro can go up another level

asafamcg

Bolt All-Stars sprinter Asafa Powell believes the Coles Nitro Athletics Melbourne series can ramp it up to another level on Thursday 9 February at Lakeside Stadium after a well-received world premiere last weekend.

Since the debut of the series concluded with the Jamaican former world record holder winning the mixed 4x100m relay with captain Usain Bolt the final on Saturday 11 February has sold out.

That means Thursday night is your last chance to see Bolt and his All-Stars compete against Team Australia, England, China, New Zealand and Japan.

“It turned out great and I love it – hopefully it can move up another level and be a really big thing,” Powell said of night one at a press conference at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The sprint king was back at the place he won 100m gold in 2006 at the Commonwealth Games for Jamaica, a stadium he spoke of fondly and will always remember.

He enjoyed an opportunity to get up close and personal with some native wildlife on the green grass of the MCG before the media call including a wombat, kangaroo and even a sizeable snake.

“I’m looking forward to it (Thursday night) and I want to put on a good show and have fun,” Powell added.

“Now everyone has seen each other’s strengths and weaknesses it is going to rely a lot on strategy now – so definitely we have to change a few things.

“We can’t get too comfortable, definitely last time we were coming from behind and we managed to pull off the win.”

That relay win at the end of night one just got the Bolt All-Stars over the line to finish on top of the ladder by just 30 points ahead of the locals Team Australia.

Points awarded for ladder positions from nights one and two will be combined to determine the seeding for the final on Saturday 11 February.

ladder

“Coming in we knew it was going to be a challenge with the Aussies,” Powell explained.

“They have the home ground advantage, you guys have great athletes and like I said to Jack (Hale) coming in I know they’re going to push it to the limit so we’ll see.

“I don’t know what my captain is going to have me run but hopefully I can put on a show, hopefully me and Jack can put on a show.”

The elimination mile will again feature on the schedule after proving to be a popular event by those watching at the track and around the world via the broadcast.

Team Australia teenage sprinter Jack Hale will be competing in the 100m on Thursday night and has a good chance of coming up against Powell, who has broken 10 seconds for the distance 98 times.

“No matter who runs in the 100m it’s going to be an incredible field, if I can come up against Asafa in the 100m it would be huge for me,” Hale said after talking with the Jamaican at the MCG.

“Especially as an 18-year-old it’s just massive.”

Hale’s run in the mixed relay on opening night to take Team Australia from last to third was a viral hit across social media and on Thursday night he will again carry the baton for his team except this time it will be down the back straight.

“Yeah of course the atmosphere really turned on all the athletes,” he added.

“It really helped the big crowd and the reception all the athletes got was huge so that really turned up my performance I feel.

“I think tomorrow night will be huge, it’s your last chance to come along and watch the best athletes in the world compete.”

Attending on Thursday night and at the final on Saturday will be IAAF president Sebastian Coe who has already publicly applauded the new concept.