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Nitro series pencilled in for February

AAP logoAAP 24/10/2016 John Salvado

The proposed new-look Nitro Summer Athletics series - set to feature Jamaican super-sprinter Usain Bolt - is a step closer to becoming a reality.

Athletics Australia released its 2016-17 domestic calendar on Monday, with the week of February 4-11 left clear for the teams event which AA hopes will draw a new audience to a sport which has long struggled to gain mainstream traction outside the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

AA revealed during the Rio Olympics that negotiations had been ongoing for several months for Bolt to be the centrepiece of the Nitro series.

"Anyone would like Bolt to come and run in their country," AA chief executive Phil Jones said in August.

"He's attracted by the Nitro concept and those discussions are ongoing."

Bolt won an unprecedented third straight sprint treble at the Rio Games by saluting in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.

The 30-year-old Jamaican has already committed to extending his remarkable career through until next year's world track and field championships in London.

Bolt is currently in Melbourne at attend the Spring racing carnival.

An official announcement regarding the Nitro series is expected within the next 10 days, with Sydney and Melbourne the favoured venues.

Bolt would almost certainly only contest relays at the meets which would involve up to eight Australian and international teams.

Bolt's long-time American rival Justin Gatlin - who has served two doping bans - has also been linked to the Nitro series.

The one-day Australian athletics tour meets have been dropped from the 2016-17 schedule, with AA hopeful that more big names will commit to the various state championships.

A two-day grand prix meet in Canberra on March 11-12 will be the major lead-in event to the national championships in Sydney.

Key dates for the 2016-17 domestic athletics season

2016

Dec 8 - Zatopek:10 meet in Melbourne

2017

Feb 4-11* - Nitro Athletics

March 11-12 - Grand prix meet in Canberra

March 26-April 2 - Australian championships in Sydney

* - to be confirmed

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