Jamaica may finally have found a successor to sprint legend Usain Bolt, after 12-year-old Brianna Lyston produced an astonishing display of sprinting at the 2017 Boys and Girls Championships.
In a style reminiscent of eight-time Olympic champion Bolt, Lyston swept all before her in the 100m and 200m events – setting a record time in the latter while easing up before the finish line.
Lyston became the first-ever under-13s athlete to run a sub-24-second time at the Champs, and with Usain Bolt heading for retirement at the end of 2017 Jamaica will hope it has witnessed the birth of its next all-conquering track hero.
Sadly, Lyston’s devastating run of 23.46 seconds in the 200m semi-final was not wind-legal, with the wind-speed at +2.2 metres per second – but she continued her astonishing form unperturbed in the final to set a wind-legal record of 23.72s.
The 12-year-old’s times are only a little more than two seconds off the senior women’s 200m world record, set back in 1988, and saw Lyston a whopping near-full second clear of her nearest rival in the final.
Lyston made the most of her lane-four draw and had made up the stagger on Tina Clayton outside her in lane five after less than 50 metres – and Clayton would end up being her nearest rival, in second.
The young Jamaican is ahead of the development curve set by eight-time Olympic champion Bolt in his own youth.
Bolt, 30, is heading for retirement after the 2017 track and field world championships in London; Brianna may have some distance to cover to reach her fellow Jamaican’s level, but on this form it surely won’t be too many years before she is troubling the senior sprint ranks.
Brianna’s mother, Toya Bennett, speaking from her home in Portmore, Jamaica, told The Telegraph: “I’m so proud of her. It was just fantastic to watch. She always trains very hard and when she came off the track she just felt great.” (www.telegraph.co.uk)