Usain Bolt arrives in Australia on football mission

Alison Chung, news reporter

Usain Bolt has said he plans to show the world what he's capable of after arriving in Sydney as he prepares to train with an Australian soccer club.

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist has been given the chance to prove his worth by the A-League's Central Coast Mariners, who have agreed to let him train with the team indefinitely in his pursuit of a contract.

They hope to turn him into A-League material in time for the start of the 2018/19 season in October.

Wearing a Mariners scarf, Bolt was met by a media scrum at Sydney airport and said he would push himself hard to make the grade.

"I want to play football and get my opportunity. I'm going to show my best, as always," Bolt said.

"I always put my best foot forward and I'm just going to show the world what I'm made of."

The world record holder in the 100 and 200 metres dismissed any thoughts his attempts to make it as a professional footballer were part of a PR stunt.

"No, this is real," Bolt insisted.

"I know what I'm capable of, I know what I can do, so I have a big opportunity to show I'm good enough. I'm happy to call Australia home."

Bolt is expected to have his first training session with the club on 21 August, which is his 32nd birthday.

The club won the A-League in 2013 but finished in last place of 10 teams last season.

Mark Leadbetter, chairman of the Mariners' official supporters club, was among those at Sydney Airport who greeted Bolt and who had questioned the sprinting champion's intentions.

"I was certainly interested when I first heard the news," he said. "It's out of the box and the more I've heard about it, the more I've come to embrace it.

"Nothing's impossible. As long as it's based on football principles, why not? I get the impression that he's been genuine about this and so has the club."