Nitro Athletics: Fabrice Lapierre’s ‘Hazelwood moment’ can’t ruin a great concept

David Lord Columnist

By , David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    When Josh Hazlewood was run out at the bowler’s end at Eden Park three weeks ago with Australia needing just six runs to win, it was by far the most unbeatable dumbest moment of the sporting year.

    That was until the Nitro Athletics meet last Thursday night at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne.

    Australia enjoyed an unassailable points lead over Usain Bolt’s All-Stars with the last event of the night.

    The only way Australia could lose was disqualification in the 4x100m relay. They promptly did just that.

    It was widely reported Jack Hale failed to legally pass the baton to Fabrice Lapierre.

    Failed to legally pass the baton?

    Fact – Lapierre had a brain explosion and took off far too early – Usain Bolt with rockets couldn’t have caught Lapierre before he crossed the foul line with Hale still three metres away.

    Dumb, stupid, and inexcusable by Lapierre, Australia was eventually disqualified and the Bolt All-Stars won the meet.

    In a post-meet interview Lapierre was unapologetic.

    Yet there was close to capacity 7,000 at Lakeside who really cared, and countless thousands on television around the world.

    Hopefully Lapierre won’t be asked to compete in the third and final Nitro Athletics series tonight until he learns some humility.

    This track and field series, the brain-child of Mike Porra of Sydney northern beaches surfing fame who devised the Uncle Tobys Ironman series, the new Nitro meet is a fantastic success.

    Having Usain Bolt on duty made the series a sell-out and well worth the seven-figure appearance fee.

    But the vastly different events have ensured success.

    Relays with two men and two women in the same team, the elimination mile with the last runner at the end of each lap dropping out, leaving the top three to fight out the final lap, and bonus points in the javelin, long jump, and pole vault if the competitors reach nominated targets or accuracy.

    There’s a lot of superb sport on television this weekend, but I earnestly suggest you take a look at the third Nitro on 7MATE at 7pm for two and a half hours of top class athletics.

    Usain Bolt should be more than enough, but there are two Aussie milers in Heidi See and Ryan Gregson who are magnificent, so too Luke Mathews, Lindenn Hall. Morgan Mitchell, Luke Stevens, and sensational 16-year-old sprinter Riley Day.

    Great television.