Track and field legend Usain Bolt vowed to prove detractors wrong, as he seeks to forge a successful football career at A-League outfit Central Coast Mariners.
Trained with club
The 32-year-old trained with the club for the first time in Australia on Tuesday after signing on for an “indefinite trial” at Mariners. He said afterwards that the new career was something he definitely wanted.
Ready to learn and get better
“It’s just like track and field – the first day of training’s always the roughest one – but it felt okay,” Bolt said after the training session.
“I’m not setting myself any targets. I’m just going to put in the work. I don’t know what to expect so I’m just here to push myself, learn as much as possible. For me it’s a blank slate. I’m here to learn and get better, that’s my focus.”
“Today was good, we’re taking it a step at a time, working on fitness, level by level, day by day. As long as you get fit in football, it’s relatively easy. That’s how I look at it. I don’t know yet.”
He added: “I don’t want to be treated as the world’s first man. I want to be treated as a footballer because that’s what I want to be. People will say a lot of things about me, but I’ll prove them wrong.”
The charismatic Jamaican won eight gold medals across three Olympics while setting multiple records, to establish himself as the greatest sprinter ever in the history of the sport.
Since retiring last year, however, he has focused his attention on football, having even trained with German powerhouses Borussia Dortmund with the hope of landing a professional contract.
Believes he can make it with Australian club
Bolt said he had turned down opportunities in Spain and France and believes Australia is where he can make his mark in football.
He noted that getting fit and making the necessary adjustments to football would be his focus in coming weeks but stressed he would not be putting himself under undue pressure.
“I’ve seen as long as you are fit, it’s relatively easy with the running. As long as I get my body in shape and get some mileage [into my legs], I should be fine,” he explained.
“I’m very cool under pressure, that’s one thing. My ability to understand very quickly and learn the game is very good.
“I’ve expressed that I’m okay on the wing, I’m good at centre forward, but, at the end of the day, he [coach Mike Mulvey] will tell me what formation and where I’ll play.”