House debates

Wednesday, 22 August 2018


Robertson Electorate: Central Coast Mariners

7:54 pm

Photo of Lucy WicksLucy Wicks (Robertson, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

In my electorate of Robertson, on the New South Wales Central Coast, there's been plenty of excitement this week. It's all thanks to the fastest man in the world. Usain Bolt has signed on to train with our local team in the Hyundai A-League, the Central Coast Mariners, and is now calling the Central Coast home.

We all know Bolt as the fastest man in the world, the eight-time Olympic gold medallist, the world record holder for the 100- and 200-metre sprints and the man who can cover 100 metres in just 9.58 seconds. We know that Usain Bolt is an incredible track athlete, and now we get to see him tackle a new challenge, swapping his running shoes for the football. Usain has now signed on to train with the Mariners to learn as much as he can, hone his skills and chase his dream of playing professionally.

It's been widely reported that Usain Bolt had plenty of offers from across the globe, including offers from football clubs in Asia, France and Spain. But I do have to say that it wasn't a huge surprise that he opted for Australia and the Central Coast. I've said before in this place that I'm lucky enough to represent the best region in the best country in the world, and it would seem that Usain Bolt might also agree.

Just yesterday, Bolt had his first training session with the Central Coast Mariners at Central Coast Stadium, in Gosford, and there were plenty of spectators. Nearly 100 journalists from across the nation and even some from France made the trip to Gosford to see Usain's first training session, which happened to be on his 32nd birthday.

I've got to say there really is a buzz on the Central Coast for football fans and even for those like me who are reasonably new to the sport—although I will admit to now being a weekend soccer mum—and we're all eager to see the Central Coast's newest resident in action on the pitch. I think it's safe to say that the Central Coast is insane for Usain. There's been plenty of love for Bolt from all over the community and especially from the Mariners. Shaun Mielekamp, the CEO of the Central Coast Mariners, said that one of the reasons Bolt chose the Mariners was that they believed in him right from the beginning and gave him a chance. Mariners coach, Mike Mulvey, said that Usain brings to the team the determination and willpower it takes to win eight Olympic gold medals and that that is a real asset.

For the Mariners, Usain Bolt brings with him a boost for the club, and this is also flowing down to local clubs on the Central Coast. Rowena Brooks, from the Avoca Sharks football club, said that the Sharks are thrilled. She said she can't wait to see what this means for football on the Central Coast moving forward. Rowena also said she knows that plenty of families, including her own, are excited to get to a match where Usain will be playing in the yellow and navy.

Phil Butler, from Southern & Ettalong United Football Club, told me that every second year the Mariners head to the club and take the younger players through a session, and they're now very much looking forward to the next visit. Phil said that the Southern & Ettalong United Football Club have had players from the club go to join the Central Coast Mariners junior team. With so many younger players looking up to the Mariners, Phil told me he thinks Usain will be a great role model for the next generation of local football stars.

Julie Dolan, from the International Football and Tennis School, in Kariong, said that the whole school is delighted that Usain Bolt has joined the Mariners. Julie said that the students are particularly happy, as the school has got a great working relationship with the Mariners, and that there's a chance that students will have the opportunity to see Usain either train or play or maybe even visit the school. Julie said she thinks that having Usain Bolt on the Central Coast will help drive even greater passion and a higher level of participation in the sport on a local level.

Usain Bolt's motto is 'Don't think limits', and I think that that sums up the Central Coast—our people, who we are, what we stand for and where we're going—pretty nicely. I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome Usain Bolt to the Central Coast and to wish him all the success in the world with the Mariners. I know that everyone on the Central Coast will be backing him all the way. We can't wait to see Usain Bolt go from strength to strength and kick even more goals for the Central Coast, both on and off the field.

House adjourned at 20 : 0 0


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