Checked by a large media package, Bolt, who turned 32 on Tuesday, played at the Central Coast stadium with his future teammates.
Eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt is training for the first time for the A-League football club Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on August 21, 2018. Photo: AFP
MELBOURNE – Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt eased Tuesday in his first training with the Central Coast Mariners in Australia and said he was ready to prove that the doubters were wrong in winning a professional football contract.
Checked by a large media package, Bolt, who turned 32 on Tuesday, appeared with his future teammates in the Central Coast stadium, with a broad grin as he kicked the ball during a light session in the sleepy coastal town of Gosford.
The eight-time Olympic gold medalist has had an open-ended test with the Mariners, who last season ended in the 10-team A-league and operate in one of the smallest football markets in the country.
There is much doubt about whether the fastest man in the world can reinvent himself as a top football player and there was little to suggest from the closed session that Bolt would make the switch.
The Jamaican occasionally showed a heavy touch for about 45 minutes of exercises, and was excluded from the main group because they played a half-pitch, eight-a-side game.
He rarely deviated from the use of his favorite left foot and spent the last part of the session stretching exercises.
It will be a step by step, Bolt said, with a black hat and a goatee at his first media conference.
"For me it's just like track and field," he told reporters.
"The first training day is always the toughest, you can tell how much work you have to do, what you have to do.
"It felt good, I know it will take time and work and I am ready to work."
The connection between the Mariners and Bolt has proved polarizing in Australia, with critics who rejected it as a publicity stunt to strengthen the profile of a team that has not done the playoffs in the last four seasons.
Bolt, who last year retired from athletics at the World Championships in London, has already trained with Borussia Dortmund in Germany, Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa and Stromsgodset in Norway.
"I am here, and for me people always say what they want to say," he said.
"Just like when I was in the field, people said a lot about me, but I always proved that they were wrong, so it's just a new moment for me to prove that people are wrong."
The Mariners have said that Bolt will have as much time as he needs to prove himself.
Coach Mike Mulvey described the Bolt session as "just the first day", but said the sprinter could be ready for a good exhibition game on August 31 against a representative match of top local amateurs.
Mulvey rejected the view that the Bolt process was a gimmick and could prove to be a diversion for his squadron.
"This man is a winner, how many gold medals did you win?" He asked Bolt, who was sitting next to him.
"Eight gold medals at the Olympics, you do not only by having great ability, you do it by having a great mental capacity.
"If he can now pass on a bit to my players who came out of the basement to reach the top, this could be great for one of our young boys we signed."
Bolt said that he had raised his hand for a wing or a central forward role, and promised to put his signature "lightning" & # 39; to perform when he scored a goal in the A-league.
"I look forward to scoring as many goals as possible and taking the trophy home," he said.