Australia had a horror 100m heats at the World Champs but a former Australian titleholder took a national record away from his father.
A spot in the 100m semi-finals of the world championships wasn’t the only prize Eddie Osei-Nketia earned with the run of his life in Oregon today.
The Kiwi sprinter broke the national record with a time of 10.08 seconds in the heats at Hayward Field, edging the previous New Zealand mark of 10.11s set by his father Gus 28 years ago.
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Osei-Nketia will now race in a star-studded semi-final tomorrow, but in the meantime has a new title to celebrate.
“I’m not going to lie, it feels good beating my old man’s record,” Osei-Nketia told Newstalk ZB. “Like, now I’m the man of the house and I can tease him about it so much.
“But in all seriousness, it feels so good. When you’re putting so much time in and so much work in, these are the results you get. I’m just overwhelmed.
“It’s just beautiful for a son to take over his father’s record.”
Osei-Nketia spoke to his dad after finishing second in his heat, revelling in the chance to remind Gus that he had long joked his son would never best the time he ran at the 1994 Commonwealth Games.
“He was just proud of me – but I bet he was also a bit torn up that his own son beat his record,” the 21-year-old laughed.
“But he told me that the job’s not done and we’ll have to go out and do it again tomorrow.”
Osei-Nketia claimed the 100m at the Australian National Athletics Championships at just 17 in 2019.
In that race, Osei-Nketia defeated Aussie Olympian Rohan Browning in a field including Jack Hale, Trae Williams, Jake Doran and Alex Hartmann.
At 10.22, Browning was knocked out of the heats, while Doran ran 10.29.
Osei-Nketia will be only the second time a Kiwi sprinter has raced in the 100m semi-finals of a world championships, after Gus did so in Gothenberg in 1995.
And Osei-Nketia knows he may have to set more history if he wishes to reach the final.
The Kiwi will be racing alongside defending world champion Christian Coleman and Olympic silver medallist Fred Kerley, an American pair Osei-Nketia plans to attempt to keep close.
Kerley in particular has shown he is in prodigious form, qualifying top from the heats in 9.79s, the fastest heat time ever run at a major championships.
“They’re both known to have very great starts and very good finishes,” Osei-Nketia said. “My goal is just to stick with Fred Kerley, because he’s going to get a jump on me.
“I just need to stick with him for the first 30 and stay stuck with him throughout after the 30 metres. So hopefully I get a good time.”
Regardless of his next result, Osei-Nketia was especially pleased to have sent a “statement” after controversially missing selection for the Commonwealth Games. His time of 10.08s would have been good enough for silver in 2018.
“It was an unreal day – it almost feels like a dream,” he said. “It’s such a beautiful experience running in the USA. The track was so extremely fast and I’m just grateful to be here.”
This story first appeared in the New Zealand Herald and was republished with permission.