Dortmund:Athletics legend Usain Bolt insists he is serious about realising his dream of becoming a top-class footballer after training with Borussia Dortmund.
“I really want to try and make it professionally, to play at a high level,” the sprint superstar told reporters on Friday at the German league club.
“My goal is to make a top team and play in one of the top leagues in the world.”
Nearly 200 journalists and around 1,500 fans saw the eight-time Olympic gold medallist put through his paces with the first-team squad at Dortmund’s training ground.
Having already trained with the team behind closed doors on Thursday, Friday’s open session could be seen as a publicity stunt as both Bolt and Dortmund are sponsored by Puma.
The Bundesliga club live-streamed the training session and in China alone 1.2 million viewers tuned in.
The 31-year-old Bolt insists he is deadly serious about starting a new career – at an age when most footballers are hanging up their boots.
Bolt, who retired from athletics last year, admits he lacks the endurance fitness football demands.
“Overall, I’d give myself a seven out of ten,” he said.
“It was fun, the guys were cool and they were welcoming, but I can tell I was unfit.
“I like to play on the wing, right now I am unfit so I try to stay up top (as a striker).
“I’ve heard a lot about the fans here – that really was an experience.”
As expected, Bolt, the 100m and 200m world record holder, showed phenomenal pace over the turf.
He was proud of the header he scored in a practice game, but admits having much to learn.
“I’m tall, so it’s one of the things I have practised over the years,” he said of his header with sweat pouring down his face.
“I was working hard out there, I wanted to play my best, move and give the guys options.”
Dortmund coach Peter Stoeger gave a realistic appraisal of Bolt as a footballer.
“He is talented, but if he wants to make it at the top level, there are still a few things to do,” said the Austrian.
“He’s an unbelievably laid-back guy, an athlete with so much success, but with his feet very much on the ground.
“He had fun and he got some feedback, which was his wish.
“He understands the game, what he’s missing is the team work and how to move.”
Bolt wants to be invited back to train again — and maybe even sign — with Dortmund.
“I hope to come again and hopefully they will welcome me, I can get better and (they’ll) sign me — you never know,” he said.
The Jamaican refused to measure himself against Dortmund’s professionals.
“I don’t compare myself to them yet. I want to play at the level I know I can, to improve and to learn from them,” he said.
“This is what they do for a living and I am trying to get into this by watching and learning.”
However, he was very clear that he does not want to play lower league football.
Bolt dismissed even the suggestion of playing for Dortmund’s reserves in Germany’s third division to gain experience.
“I wouldn’t want to play in a lesser league, I want to play in the top league – this is why I am here,” he added.
“I would like to work with the team more and improve my skills, get better and try to play in the big league.
“I don’t set any standards, I don’t know where I am at.
“If it gets to the time where I feel like I am at the level, then the coaches or the club will say ‘alright, you know what? You can play at this level or that level’
“Until then, I am just going to working hard and pushing myself.”
Bolt, a Manchester United fan, is already due to play at the club’s iconic Old Trafford stadium in a charity football match on June 10.
Bolt will line up opposite British pop star Robbie Williams and captain the Soccer Aid World XI in a match to raise funds for the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef.
WC final was the best and worst day of my cricketing life: Guptill
London: After coming out as the losing side in the ICC Men
s Cricket World Cup final, New Zealands opening batsman Martin Guptill posted an emotional message on Instagram saying it was the best and worst day of his cricketing life.
“Hard to believe it`s been a week since that incredible Final at Lords. I think it was both the best and worst day of my cricketing life! So many different emotions, but mainly proud to represent New Zealand and play for the @blackcapsnz alongside a great group of mates. Thank you to everyone for all your support, it has been amazing,” Guptill wrote on Instagram.
In another post, Guptill thanked his family for always being with him through thick and thin.
“I couldn`t have been more proud to have my 2 best supporters with me for the ride. @lauramcgoldrick13 you are my rock. Thank you and Harley for being there through the good times and the tough. Love my girls more than anything,” Guptill posted.
The final between New Zealand and England at the Lord`s Cricket Ground on July 14 could not separate the two sides despite the 50-over match and subsequent super over as both ended in a tie.
England were finally declared the champions on the basis of boundary countback rule.New Zealand had set up a target of 242 for England to win the World Cup.
As the hosts needed nine runs off three balls, Ben Stokes hit the ball into the deep and ran for a double. Guptill had thrown the ball in an attempt to run out Stokes but the ball bounced off Stokes` bat and reached the boundary giving England six runs.
Former ICC Elite umpire Simon Taufel had said that there was a judgment error by the on-field umpires and the six runs should not have been awarded.
“There was a judgment error on the overthrow. The judgment error was the timing of when the fielder threw the ball. The act of the overthrow starts when the fielder releases the ball. That`s the act. It becomes an overthrow from the instant of the throw,” Taufel had said.
In the super over, New Zealand needed two runs of the final ball for the win, but Guptill was run-out, ending the over in a tie and leaving the batsman distraught. Many former cricketers had criticised the ICC for deciding the World Cup winner on the basis of boundary countback.
Ronaldo will not face rape charge in Vegas
London: Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo will face no charges in Las Vegas in connection with a 10-year-old sexual assault allegation because the case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, prosecutors said.
Ronaldo, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time and plays for the Italian club Juventus, has maintained he is innocent.
Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in September 2018 in state court in Nevada accusing the athlete of raping her in a Las Vegas hotel penthouse suite in 2009, then paying her $375,000 in hush money.
A woman called Las Vegas police on June 13, 2009 to report that she had been sexually assaulted and police took her to the hospital for an examination, the Clark County District Attorney`s Office said in a statement on Monday. She declined to identify the person who she said assaulted her.
The statement did not identify the woman, but Mayorga`s civil lawsuit mirrors the allegation outlined by prosecutors.
Mayorga and Ronaldo reached a civil settlement in 2010 and law enforcement did not hear again from her until Aug. 28, 2018, when she asked police to reopen the investigation. She said Ronaldo was the person who sexually assaulted her, prosecutors said.
Las Vegas police on July 8 asked the Clark County District Attorney`s Office to prosecute the case.
“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the District Attorney`s Office said in a statement on Monday.
Ronaldo`s attorney, Peter Christiansen, did not return calls. Attorneys for Mayorga could not be reached for comment.
Las Vegas police said in January they had formally asked Italian authorities to obtain a DNA sample from Ronaldo.
Police did not immediately respond to emails asking if they ever obtained the DNA.
The civil lawsuit, in which Mayorga sought more than $200,000 in damages, has been moved to federal court.
Tokyo adds robots to Olympic roster
TOKYO: A roster of Olympic robots that will do everything from welcoming visitors to transporting javelins has been unveiled as Tokyo works to showcase Japanese technology at next year’s Summer Games.
Japan hopes the 2020 Olympics will be a chance to put its tech sector back on the map after years in which the country’s reputation as an industry leader has flagged.
Auto giant Toyota has a roster of five robots with different roles to play, from cutesy renditions of the Olympic mascots to a staid transport bot.
Undoubtedly the most appealing are the toddler-sized versions of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic mascots, the futuristic Miraitowa and Someity.
Blue- or pink-checked, with huge eyes and pointy ears, the mascot robots have multiple joints and arms which can be remotely controlled.
And while the pint-sized pair can’t move or talk, a camera inside their heads helps them interact with spectators and athletes, said Tomohisa Moiradaira, an official responsible for Tokyo 2020 robot development at Toyota.
“Thanks to the camera, the robots can recognise people’s expressions and respond back,” he told reporters on Monday. “If a person moves away it will look sad.”
The mascot’s ‘feelings’ are reflected in its eyes: they can display hearts or stars depending on emotions.
Toyota has suggested the mascot robots could welcome athletes and spectators, and possibly help engage children with the Games.
Significantly less cute — but slightly more practical — is the company’s Field Support Robot, a suitcase-sized automaton on wheels that will help Olympic staff.
“It is capable of following staff, while avoiding obstacles, and can be loaded with items like javelins or discusses, helping reduce the amount of time needed to retrieve items as well as reduce the amount of staff labour for events,” Toyota said.
Other offerings include robots designed to support people in wheelchairs or deliver food to spectators.
For those who can’t attend the Games, there’s the T-TR1, effectively a human-sized narrow screen on wheels equipped with a camera.