Usain Bolt this week showed South Africans why he Is a global super star with far wider appeal than on the athletic track he so dominated. At the PUMA SA School of Speed in Ruimsig on Monday Bolt became the world’s most popular school principal when he charmed and electrified the stands full of hopeful athletes – posing for selfies, striking his famous lightning pose and inspiring them with phrases like “my motto is anything is possible”. Dressed in ripped jeans, t-shirt and cap (PUMA, of course) the learners who came to join his school thought him the coolest principal ever.

Then It was off to a training session with Mamelodi Sundowns – giving him a taste of what to expect when he joins Borussia Dortmund for a training session in March. PUMA is technical apparel sponsor for both teams. After training for about 40 minutes, he joined Percy Tau and his team in a match – and even scored a goal.

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Bolt trains with Mamelodi Sundowns. Photo Dom Barnardt

“This has been a good experience, a fun day and Sundowns were very welcoming,” said Bolt, who said he’d love to play professional football one day. “I have learnt that I am very unfit and will need to work with my coach in Jamaica to get sharp for my session with Borussia Dortmund.”

As the most decorated team in PSL history and 2016 CAF Champions League winners, a Sundowns training session would have given him a good indication of what to expect from the German club.

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He wants to become a professional footballer one day, Bolt said. Photo Dom Barnardt

PUMA SA appointed Bolt as principal of the School of Speed when the concept was Introduced last year. “PUMA has been involved with the Jamaican Boys & Girls Championship since 2002, so it was logical to bring a similar concept to South Africa,” explains Marketing Director Brett Bellinger.

“It is important for us to unearth the next Usain Bolt. You see Thando Roto, South Africa’s second fastest man ever, sitting here, was part of the School of Speed last year.” He was vice-principal of the school.

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Thando Roto, the vice-principal of the School of Speed. Photo Tobias Ginsberg.

The PUMA School of Speed is a series of five athletic track meets across the country featuring sprint races, short hurdles, long jump and high jump. The series is endorsed by athletics federations, so performances count towards qualification for provincial and national championships. It also signed a sponsorship deal with Spur Steakhouses this week.

“This is one of the most important days for the continent of Africa,” enthused President of Athletics South Africa, Aleck Skhosana, said to Bolt. ” This is the kind of inspiration we need right now as we vigorously strive to be the best in the world.”

The top performers at the meet received prizes like PUMA premium spikes.

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Bolt finds his comfortable lacing option for the PUMA Future 18.1 Netfit boot. Photo Dom Barnardt

Bolt took to the soccer field In a pair of PUMA Future 18.1 Netfit boots, featuring the adaptable Netfit technology offering infinite lacing options – in which he, no doubt, felt at home because they were first designed for running. The soccer boot’s Rapidagility outsole allows for high speeds on the break and fast acceleration … well suited to the world’s fastest man.

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