Kerron Clement Olympic champ targets hurdles hat-trick

The American plans to get his preparations for the August worlds underway next month in Melbourne.

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Kerron Clement took gold in the Men's 400m Hurdles at the Rio Olympics and is aiming for a third world championship gold in 2017 play

Kerron Clement took gold in the Men's 400m Hurdles at the Rio Olympics and is aiming for a third world championship gold in 2017

(AFP/File)

Olympic champion Kerron Clement says an unprecedented third hurdles world championship gold is achievable this year -- if he can stay injury-free.

The American, who won the 400m hurdles in Rio last year, plans to get his preparations for the August worlds underway next month in Melbourne at a new team event spearheaded by Usain Bolt.

Nine-time Olympic champion Bolt headlines the inaugural Nitro Athletics, captaining the 'All-Stars' including Clement and sprinter Asafa Powell, against teams from Australia, China, Japan, England and New Zealand.

The meet will feature non-traditional events such as middle-distance and hurdles relays, in a concept backed by world athletics chief Sebastian Coe.

"Anything that involves being a part of a team I'm always excited about because I consider myself a team player," said Clement in a statement announcing his participation.

"I like to think I can motivate my other team-mates to reach their full potential."

Clement, a sometime model who once appeared in a music video for pop diva Beyonce, won the 2007 world title and followed up the feat in 2009 before injuries disrupted his career.

But he said his Rio Olympic triumph gave him belief that he could win a third world title later this year in London.

"As always, my aim for 2017 as any other year would be to be injury-free, and consistently winning," said the 31-year-old.

"Being an Olympic champion, I know I will have a target on my back but I am fully aware of that and I embrace the challenge by anyone.

"With that being said, I'm looking to be world champion again. Adding a third individual gold in the hurdles, making me the only hurdler in history to ever do so."

The Nitro Athletics event, split equally between men and women, takes place at Melbourne's Lakeside Stadium on February 4, 9 and 11.