Athletics: Sprinter Eddie Osei-Nketia picks New Zealand over Australia

Athletics New Zealand seems to have won the battle to secure the services of star teenage sprinter Edward Osei-Nketia.

The 17-year-old won the 100 metres at Australian track and field champs, but because he's grown up across the ditch, he is eligible to compete for Australia.

He isn't exactly flying under the radar, storming to victory over some highly rated opponents in 10.22s. Now, the Aussies want him running for them.

Osei-Nketia's semi-final time of 10.19s was the fourth fastest ever by a New Zealander, ranking behind dad Gus Nketia (10.11s), Chris Donaldson (10.17s) and Joseph Millar (10.18s).

"When my dad entered me in the opens, I was kind of scared, because of the big names," he told Newshub. "But dad told me to just concentrate on my own race and that's what I did."

Athletics NZ has already selected Osei-Nketia for the Oceania championships in June, while Australian want to pick him for the world relay champs in May.

ANZ high performance manager Scott Goodman understands the attraction of aligning with the Australian team.

"Athletics Australia are in a position to influence him in different ways, because they will have relay teams over the next 10 years of his career," said Goodman.

But Osei-Nketia is more focused on individual success, telling Newshub that the place he calls home has won the race for his services.

"I was born in New Zealand, my dad ran for New Zealand and it's fair to say I want to run for New Zealand," he said.

Osei-Nketia's family lives in Canberra, but he's still at school in Wellington and Athletics NZ's offer of help beyond the track has clearly paid off.

"They want to help financially," he said. "They're going to help with my physio and staff that I need for training."

Nketia is far from the finished product on the track, but Goodman is excited by what he's seen.

"He is very capable of 10.10 this year, probably 10 seconds in his career," he said.

Osei-Nketia also wants to continue pursuing his other passion - rugby.

He dreams of one day playing for the All Blacks, but for now, New Zealand's future on the track just got a whole lot brighter.


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