USAIN Bolt, the world’s fastest man and greatest sprinter of all time, has urged South Africa to embrace the Puma School of Speed if they are to produce and nurture top athletes that can rival the world’s best. Now retired, the 100m and 200m world record holder said this yesterday after a training session with PSL side Mamelodi Sundowns in what was an engagement put together by sponsors Puma. While the legendary 31 year old wasn’t there to produce the same brilliance on the football pitch as he did on the track, he shared his advice on how SA’s future track can improve to be more competitive.
“The biggest thing that can develop athletes in this country is the Puma School of Speed. “To put schools together to compete will help you see more talent come out,” Bolt said. “Once that happens, there should be more investment in track and field and once great athletes come out, the country will have no choice but to invest (in (development) more.” The training session with Sundowns, which revealed a rather unfit Bolt ahead of his trial with German giants Borussia Dortmund, also gave him an opportunity to talk about SA’s local track stars.
Having already shown his respect for Wayde van Niekerk’s achievements in the past, Bolt referred to the injured Van Niekerk as already “one of the greats” of the track and also spoke of Akani Simbine as an impressive talent. “I have said it over and again that Van Niekerk is one of the greatest in the sport because he has proven himself time and again,” Bolt said. “Whenever we talk to each other, he always tells me he wants to be the top sprinter. We will see how that goes. “Hopefully he is on a speedy recovery. These guys (Van Niekerk and Simbine) are great and seeing the big talent that they have, we must watch and be amazed.” Apart from athletics, Bolt reiterated his desire to play professional football as it is a sport he has played all his life – and jokingly said the only thing that he did not like about his trip to South Africa was the fact that there was no water in Cape Town.
Following the trip to Sundowns, who will be playing a PSL match against Cape Town City on Friday, Bolt went to Ruimsig to conduct coaching clinics and meet thousands of excited athletics hopefuls and adoring fans.