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Whoever knew Bolt could make money flying?

The National staff  |  May 23, 2013

Well, not so much flying as much as breeding. And no, we're not talking about Usain, the now-legendary Jamaican Olympian. It's a pigeon. We explain:

Like his human counterpart, “Bolt” the racing pigeon is a record-setter in every sense, fetching €310,000 (Dh1.4 million) from a Chinese buyer impressed by his winning pedigree and successes.

Named after six-times Olympic champion, Jamaican Usain Bolt, the pigeon was put up for auction on the Belgian specialist site pipa.be — which comes in several language versions, including Japanese and Chinese, reflecting the sport’s global appeal.

“Bolt is a super pigeon,” owner Leo Heremans was quoted as saying, with a string of race victories to his name.

Reports in the Belgian media said Heremans, a well known pigeon fancier and breeder, sold virtually his whole stock of 530 birds which were described as “killers” who stand out for their ability to “dominate and outclass opponents”.

The sale brought Heremans reportedly a sum of €4 million.

RTBF TV station cited another pigeon specialist, Nikolaas Gijselbrecht, as saying that “Belgian pigeons are known the world over – just like Belgian beer and chocolate!”

Gijselbrecht added: ‘Leo has done so well with his birds this year and there has been a lot of hype.

“That’s why he has been able to get so much money. The prices have just gone crazy.”

PiPa, the abbreviation for “Pigeons from Paradise”, was founded in 2000 to promote the sport which attracts a huge following, with breeders as selective and fussy over their bloodlines as the most exclusive racehorse owner.

* Agence France-Presse