(Transcript from World News Radio)
A Sydney teenager is setting the Australian sprint scene alight.
Egypt-born Anas Abu Ganaba counts Usain Bolt as his idol…and has his sights set on competing in the Olympics.
But as Hannah Sinclair reports, it hasn’t always been an easy run.
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“Sfx Cheering…At his breath taking incomparable best, Usain Bolt does the double-double, he wins in London and beats Yohan Blake….”
To his friends at school Anas Abu Ganaba is simply known as “Bolt.”
It’s a comparison he says he doesn’t mind.
“I look up to Usain Bolt, Ray Lewis. They motivate me everyday. And one day I want to be like them.”
To his trainer and officials the 17-year-old sprinter could be track and field’s next big thing
Anas’ coach Robert Bangel says he’s got the talent to go far.
“The thing that stood out for me with Anas was his raw ability combined with his passion for the sport. I have great hopes that he could make an Australian relay team in the coming years.”
But Anas hasn’t always had an easy run.
The Australian All Schools Athletics Champion was born in Cairo.
Anas says from a very young age, taking responsibility was a way of life.
“Yeah it was really tough. I moved out of Sudan when I was four and then to Egypt. And then my twin brothers were born there. It was pretty scary over there (in Egypt) because we used to get left home alone, our parents used to work for us it was pretty scary looking after my two brothers.”
Away from the track, his mother Aziza Silik says family is as important to young Anas as his early morning training sessions.
“If he needs something I go shopping I buy him. I need him to be strong. He’s a nice boy, good brother for the kids, he helps me at home and for his brothers and sisters.”
Anas currently runs the 100 metres in ten-point-five-seven-seconds.
Anas’ coach Robert Bangel is the head of athletics at the Patrician Brother’s College Blacktown.
He says Anas’ potential was so impressive that he opted to take him under his wing-free of charge.
“Traditionally Sudanese athletes are long distance athletes, so Anas is quite rare in that he’s a sprinter. A lot of the West Africans are usually the sprinters and Jamaicans. So Anas is blessed with the white fibres to run fast.”
The school’s Principal Santo Passarello says the partnership between the year 12 student and his coach has produced record results.
“Anas has refused overtures from most professional coaches. He likes Mr Bangel or Bangers as he calls him. He likes Rob Bangel and obviously he’s been nurtured under his tutelage.”
Anas says he’s sure the road to the Rio Olympics will be more of a marathon than a sprint.
“My main goal is just to train hard and hopefully get an Olympics shot in the future.”