03 February 2017
AIS Director Matt Favier has applauded Athletics Australia for “embracing entertainment” and attempting to revolutionise track and field in this country with the launch of the Coles Nitro Athletics Series.
The team-based athletics series, headlined by the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, begins in Melbourne on Saturday night, with three meets over the week.
A former national track and field athlete, Favier leads the AIS and has oversight of Australia’s high performance sporting system. Favier was confident the innovative Nitro Athletics Series would have high performance benefits for Australian athletes, but he said the “wow factor” had the strong potential to bring many more advantages to the sport.
“As a track and field purist I closely follow athletic performances throughout the world, but I applaud Athletics Australia for embracing the entertainment factor the sport has to offer because it can open it up to a whole new audience,” Favier said.
“It is a fantastic chance for some of our best and emerging high performance athletes to test themselves against the world’s best competition on home soil, which helps prepare them mentally for big international meets in the future.
“But the wow factor that will come along with this Nitro Series will also open the eyes of a whole new audience. There is obviously great commercial potential, but events like these can also leave a lasting impression on families and children who go on to become supporters and, possibly, future participants.
“A sport like cricket has shown with the Big Bash League how you can reinvent yourself to attract new audiences, while still maintaining a traditional product like Test cricket that appeals to the purist.
“A name like Usain Bolt transcends athletics and, indeed all of sport. He is the billboard athlete, but his presence will draw attention to some of the young rising Australian stars we have emerging in this country.
“I will be attending Thursday’s meet and I can’t wait to see the action live.”
The Coles Nitro Athletics Series will be held at Lakeside Stadium Melbourne on February 4, 9 and 11.