Football 'fun while it lasted' for businessman Bolt

KINGSTON (Jamaica) • Usain Bolt is giving up on his dream of forging a career as a professional footballer following his trial last year with the Central Coast Mariners.

In remarks published by Jamaican media outlets on Tuesday, the retired eight-time Olympic sprint champion revealed he had drawn a line under his hopes, saying "the sports life is over" for him.

The 100m and 200m world record-holder was unable to agree a deal with the Mariners in November after a trial.

He made his debut for the Australian A-League side in September, but despite scoring twice in his second trial match, serious questions remained over his general play and ability to turn into an elite athlete in a second sport.

Bolt turned down an offer from Maltese club Valletta, reportedly because the club could not afford his wage demands, and also spent time training with Norwegian team Stromsgodset and German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund.

Although the athletics icon told reporters last month he had not given up hope of becoming a footballer, it appears his priorities now lie elsewhere. At an event in Kingston on Monday, he told TV Jamaica he had no regrets but now planned to concentrate on his business career.

He added: "I don't want to say it (the trial) wasn't dealt with properly, but we went about it, not the way we should and you learn your lesson, you live and you learn.

PRO DREAM OVER

I really enjoyed just being in a team, and it was most different from track and field... I'm just dabbling in everything and trying to be a businessman now.

USAIN BOLT, on having no regrets over not becoming a professional footballer.

"It was a good experience. I really enjoyed just being in a team, and it was most different from track and field. It was fun while it lasted.

"I'm now moving into different businesses, I have a lot of things in the pipeline, so as I say, I'm just dabbling in everything and trying to be a businessman now."

The 32-year-old was speaking as he handed over a US$1 million (S$1.3 million) cheque to help fund his country's team at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in the United Arab Emirates in March.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2019, with the headline 'Football 'fun while it lasted' for businessman Bolt'. Print Edition | Subscribe