Eight time Olympic Gold medallist and eleven time world champion Ussain Bolt is set to appear for the first time in Melbourne this Saturday and he will have a Greek champion on his side.
“Lightning” Bolt is the star of the inaugural Coles Nitro Athletics tournament, that will take place from 4 to 11 February at Albert Park’s Lakeside Stadium – home of South Melbourne FC. He is reported to be paid $1m. in order to participate, as leader of the ‘Bolt All-Stars’ team, which will compete against Australia, New Zealand, England, Japan and China.
His team comprises of five Olympic Champions, six World Champions, two NCAA champions, two Paralympic stars and four young Australians, not least among them Anastasia Marinakou, the middle distance runner who holds the Greek record for 1,500m. Voted top young Greek Athlete in 2015, the 21 year old athlete has since reloated to Melbourne, to pursue her dreams and her participation in the Nitro Athletics Tournament is the best way for her to enter the Australian trackfields.
“I am excited, proud and very emotional that my first appearance is to take place at Lakeside Oval, home of South Melbourne ‘Hellas’, in a legend’s team”, she says, praising the Jamaican sprinter who holds the title of the ‘fastest man in the world’, being the first athlete to gain gold medals in three consecutive Olympic games – in Beijing, London and Rio.
The Greek runner is scheduled to compete in two endurance events on Saturday. She’ll take part in the ‘3 minute distance challenge’, as well as in the 1600m ‘Elimination Mile’.
Having been through intense training, she says that she’s ready to make her Australian debut, stating that, although she misses Greece, she has not regretted her decision to come to a country where “Athletes are taken care of”.
For more info on the event, visit the Nitro Athletic Tournament official site.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.