Tauranga man takes on Usain Bolt

Top New Zealand sprinter Joseph Millar. Photo: Wayne Tait Photography.

He's the fastest Kiwi alive, and last Saturday he took on Usain Bolt – and nearly beat him.

Tauranga athlete Joseph Millar competed in Melbourne against the Olympic great, coming second in the 150m race by only fractions of a second.

The race was part of a new initiative called the Nitro Athletics Series, which is designed to try and revamp interest in athletics by doing things slightly differently than normal running meets.

“They had special distances such as the 150m, which I raced Usain Bolt in,” says Joseph.

“They also had a three-minute run and an elimination mile, where if you're the last one round the track you get knocked out every lap.”

The Kiwi sprinter did well competing against some of the greats, and well and truly cemented his status as our fastest athlete.

“I won the 150m on the first night, and came second in the 150m to Bolt on the last night, and in the 60m I came second to Asafa Powell who is the former world record-holder.

“I also came first in the 100m, running the fastest time by a New Zealander ever – although neither Bolt nor Powell were in that.”

Being in Melbourne, at an event contested by six teams – New Zealand, Australia, China, England, Japan and the winning Bolt All-Stars, handpicked by the Jamaican legend – was, naturally, a unique experience.

“It was quite an experience to feel what the crowd was like. It was not so much the pressure to perform, but you could feel everyone watching. There was no hiding from it – there were 22,000 people there.”

Joseph's now back in Tauranga, where he does own training in between shifts at Bay SportsMed, who are also his sponsors.


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