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Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt had his first training session with Australia’s Central Coast Mariners on Tuesday and said he is ready to prove the doubters wrong by winning a professional football contract.

Bolt, who turned 32 on Tuesday, came to training at the Central Coast Stadium with his prospective team-mates, with a big grin as he kicked the ball around during a light session in Gosford.

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist has been given an open-ended trial with the Mariners, who finished bottom of the 10-team A-League last season, but many have criticised Bolt as using this trial as a publicity stunt.

Bolt said: “I’m here. For me, people are always going to say what they say. Just like when I was in track and field, people said a lot of things about me but I always proved them wrong.

“So, it’s just another moment for me to prove people wrong.”

The Jamaican retired from athletics at the World Championships in London last year and has already trained with Borussia Dortmund, South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns and Norway’s Stromsgodset.

However, Bolt admitted he is taking this new career path “one step at a time”.

“For me it’s just like track and field,” he added. “The first day of training is always the roughest one. You can tell how much work you need to put in, what you need to do.

“It felt OK. I know it’s going to take time and work and I’m ready to work.”

Bolt said he had put his hand up for a wing or central forward role, and pledged to perform his signature ‘lightning’ gesture if he scored a goal in the A-League.

The Mariners coach Mike Mulvey has said the track and field star could play in a trial match on August 31.

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