Usain Bolt set to make first start as a professional footballer

Bolt has played 20 minutes of pro football, but only from the bench. (AFP)
Updated 10 October 2018
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Usain Bolt set to make first start as a professional footballer

SYDNEY: Usain Bolt looks set to make his first start as a professional footballer tomorrow, a challenge he said could determine if he has a future in football.
Bolt said the coach of his Central Coast Mariners, Mike Mulvey, had indicated he would be in the starting line-up in a friendly against Macarthur South West United in Sydney.
“For me, that’s always a good step, when the coach is satisfied with your fitness to put you in the starting line up — that’s always a big step,” Bolt said.
“I am just happy to get the chance and go out there and start, and do my best because that is the key thing.”
The eight-time Olympic champion made his footballing debut in late August in a 20-minute cameo as a substitute on the left wing, nearly scoring but tiring quickly — the fitness needed for football being different to that of out-and-out sprinting.
Bolt said he had improved his fitness since, and expected to spend more time up front.
“My movement and my touch is much better now,” he said.
“I’ve learnt how to set my body and where to place the ball.”
The A-League has been struggling in recent years with fewer fans and dwindling TV ratings, with football chiefs hoping the arrival of big names like Bolt will boost local interest.
The 100m world record holder said he expected some nerves when out on the pitch, but was excited by the opportunity to prove his worth as a footballer.
“This will be a big game. I think it will determine if the club makes up its mind on what to do with my career. So for me it’s a very important game,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to proving myself.”


Jabeur becomes first Tunisian woman to make WTA final

Updated 19 October 2018
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Jabeur becomes first Tunisian woman to make WTA final

  • Jabeur, ranked 101st in the world and who came through qualifying, prevailed over Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
  • In Saturday’s final, Jabeur will face sixth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia, last year’s runner-up, who put out Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-3.

MOSCOW: Ons Jabeur made history on Friday when she became the first Tunisian woman to reach a WTA final by seeing off Latvian fifth seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
Jabeur, ranked 101st in the world and who came through qualifying, prevailed in one hour 37 minutes.
“This is really amazing and I’m really happy. I gave it all today, and it wasn’t easy because she plays really good,” said 24-year-old Jabeur, who unleashed 45 winners on her way to victory.
“Maybe I was too relaxed in the second set. At the end, I stayed calm. It was a little bit frustrating because I missed some easy balls, but I said I was just going to play my game, and if it goes, it goes.”
In Saturday’s final, Jabeur will face sixth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia, last year’s runner-up, who put out Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-3.
“They’re both playing good, so I hope they fight for four hours,” Jabeur had said. “The best win is that there is a Tunisian in the final.”
Jabeur lost her only career meeting against Kasatkina at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“She (Jabeur) plays interesting tennis with plenty of drop shots, often advances to the net,” Kasatkina said.
“Everything is possible in tomorrow’s final and I will just come onto the court and try to play my best.”
In the ATP event, France’s Adrian Mannarino ended Egor Gerasimov’s run beating the Belarus qualifier 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 to set up a semifinal with Italy’s Andreas Seppi, who ousted fourth seeded Serb Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
Second seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia beat last year’s runner-up Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 will face third-seeded compatriot Karen Khachanov, who saw off Mirza Basic of Bosnia 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).