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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7863


Ms McBRIDE (Dobell) (16:12): A lightning bolt has been carved into the pitch at Central Coast Stadium to mark Olympic legend Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, trialling for the Central Coast Mariners. The eight-time Olympic gold medallist and 11-time world champion sprinter touched down in Sydney on Saturday and was met by Mariners CEO, Shaun Mielekamp, and diehard fans like Julie Wall. Bolt will train for the first time tomorrow with the Central Coast Mariners—on his birthday.

There is a lot of excitement on the Central Coast, as the member for Robertson would know, at the prospect of the world's fastest man playing with the Mariners. Some have said: 'Skip the trial. Put him straight into the starting side.' Having previously trialled with teams in Germany and Norway, Bolt's trial with the Mariners was initially met with some disbelief: 'Is he really coming to our coast?' Some questioned whether it was just a publicity stunt, but I had the inside running from the Mariners. Both the Mariners and Bolt are committed to his professional football career, and I know many in our community would be thrilled if he was offered a contract at the end of this trial. The Mariners have poured additional coaching and high-performance resources into the project, which will launch tomorrow with his first training, but the public won't get a glimpse—it's only open to the media.

On behalf of my constituents in the electorate of Dobell, I want to warmly welcome Usain Bolt to the Central Coast and wish him all the best for his trial with the Mariners. And happy 32nd birthday. What better place to spend a birthday trialling for a new career than on the beautiful Central Coast of New South Wales. All the best to the Mariners and to Bolt. We'll do the Wanderers this season!