World record 100-metre sprinter, Usain Bolt will make his this debut this Friday with football club Central Coast Mariners, after completing his first training session with the Australian A-League side last weekend. The Jamaica athlete is currently on trial with the Mariners in the hopes of winning a professional contract.
Bolt’s switch to football has been criticized by many as a gimmick, but the eight-time Olympic champion told reporters at a press conference ahead of Friday’s game that he was out to prove his critics wrong.
“When I was in track and field, people said a lot about me, but I always proved them wrong. So it’s just another moment for me to prove people wrong,” he said.
“It's not like it is a charity game anymore, this is a career that I am pursuing. I expect to make mistakes but also to make myself proud and to push myself. I know I am not going to have a perfect game,” he added.
Bolt taking time to adjust
Bolt said he was slowly adjusting to training as a footballer and was going to take his time to “learn new ways and continue pushing.”
"Because I'm not used to picking up speed, going back down, up and down, up and down, back and forth, that's the most challenging," he said.
Mariners coach Mike Mulvey, agreed that it would take time for Bolt to adjust, but praised his commitment and pointed out that he has some “rudimentary skills”.
“I imagine he’ll get some minutes,” said Mulvey on Friday’s game against a local amateur team.
Bolt has trained with a number of clubs this year in his quest to become professional footballer. He played a friendly match with Norwegian side Stromsgodset while on trial in May, and had a two-day trial with Borrussia Dortmund in March, in which he took part in an open training session with the German club’s first team. The world-record holder alos trained with South African side Mamelodi Sundowns in January.