To his friends at school, Anas Abu Ganaba is simply known as “Bolt”.
“I look up to Usain Bolt, Ray Lewis,” said Anas. “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 the teenager has 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,” he said.
Anas’ life so far has been anything but a clear run.
Born in Cairo, Anas and his family lived in Sudan and Egypt before moving to Australia when he was four.
From a very young age taking responsibility was a way of life.
“It was pretty scary over there (in Egypt) because we used to get left home alone,” Anas said. “Our parents used to work for us – it was pretty scary looking after my two brothers.”
Away from the track, his mother Aziza Silik said family is as important to young Anas as his early morning training sessions.
“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 10.57 seconds.
His potential was so impressive that Robert Bangel, the head athletics coach at the Patrician Brothers’ College Blacktown, opted to take him under his wing-free of charge.
The school’s Principal Santo Passarello said 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 and obviously he’s been nurtured under his tutelage.”
Anas knows 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.”
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