Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 October 2020

Usain Bolt bemoans lack of 'fair chance' to prove football ability

Jamaican sprint great spent more than two months on trial with A-League side Central Coast Mariners

Usain Bolt took part in a prolonged trial with A-League club Central Coast Mariners in 2018. Reuters
Usain Bolt took part in a prolonged trial with A-League club Central Coast Mariners in 2018. Reuters

Olympic superstar Usain Bolt believes he didn't receive a "fair chance" to prove his ability as a footballer after a failed trial in Australia put paid to his hopes of a professional career.

The Jamaican, an eight-time Olympic champion, tried out with the A-League side Central Coast Mariners in 2018 after quitting athletics, hoping to fulfil a childhood dream to become a football player.

His quest garnered worldwide attention, which intensified when he scored two goals in a pre-season friendly.

But his abilities were questioned, notably by former Ireland striker Andy Keogh who said he had a "touch like a trampoline", and contract talks failed.

A typical trial at a football club lasts one week, with players who impress either signed to terms or offered another week to prove their ability.

Bolt spent around two-and-a-half months with the Mariners, between his arrival in Sydney in mid-August and his departure at the start of November.

However, the Jamaican told Australia's Channel Nine television network: "I think I didn't get a fair chance. I didn't do it how I wanted to do it, but it's something I think I would've been good at.

"But it's just one of those things you miss out on and just have to move on."

Bolt, the 100m and 200m world record holder, had previously tried out with clubs in Germany, South Africa and Norway. He was offered a two-year professional contract by Maltese club Valletta FC but he turned it down.

Asked if he had any regrets about his attempted career shift, Bolt replied: "I do think about it sometimes that it didn't work out the way that I wanted it to, because football is something that I love.

"The fact that it didn't work out I do think about it, but as I said, it's one of those things you've got to move past."

Updated: August 6, 2020 01:31 PM

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