17-year-old Edward Nketia is the Australian 100m champion.
17-year-old Edward Nketia is the Australian 100m champion.

Teen freak stuns Aussie speedsters

IT was a race that was expected to challenge the 16-year-old Australian 100m record but a 17-year-old youngster has stunned a star studded field at the Australian Athletics Championships.

And he wants to be a Kiwi.

Edward Nketia romped home in a time of 10.22 seconds to claim the Australian 100m title at Homebush on Saturday night.

But the race which was expected to end Patrick Johnson's 2003 record of 9.93 seconds was well safe in the end as Nketia held off 21-year-old Rohan Browning.

Browning, who ran a 10.08 in Brisbane last month, was the favourite in a field including Jack Hale, Trae Williams, Jake Doran and Alex Hartmann in an impressive field.

Nketia, who won the under-20s 100m with a 10.60, put in a great run to take out the title.

Nketia is trained by his father Gus, who ran for Ghana at the 1990 Commonwealth Games before switching allegiances to New Zealand, where he set the national record of 10.11.

Edward Nketia took plenty of people by surprise.
Edward Nketia took plenty of people by surprise.

Nketia spent eight years in Canberra before moving back to Wellington in 2018 to complete his schooling.

He admitted in January "my heart, it belongs to the Kiwis".

Speaking after the race, Nketia looked stunned.

"I couldn't believe it myself," he said. "Last month, when my dad entered me in the opens, I was kind of scared due to the big names. But my dad told me to concentrate on my own race and that's what I just did."

Asked what he'll do to celebrate, he said "I don't know, I'll go back to bed".

The Australian championship win comes after he also won the New Zealand national championship.

As for whether he would consider lining up in green and gold, he said "I don't know" leaving the door slightly ajar.

Nketia was also a promising rugby player and an Australian schoolboy sprint champion.

But after smashing his 100m personal best with 10.19 seconds in the semis on Saturday and backing up with a commanding victory in the final, his prospects on the track have skyrocketed.

Edward Nketia knew he had it.
Edward Nketia knew he had it.

"It feels so good," he said.

"I know I got pumped up for my semi but my dad just took me to the warm-up track and tried to calm me down.

"My dad thought I was capable of this but I think he was just bluffing."

Sydneysider Rohan Browning - who moved to equal third last month on the Australian 100m all-time list - was second in 10.28 and Tasmanian Jack Hale was third in 10.34.

- with AAP