Athletics: Sprinter Eddie Osei-Nketa hits speed bump on fast track to top

Sprint sensation Eddie Osei-Nketia admits he's struggling to cope with the hype of being New Zealand athletics' next big thing.

The 18-year-old was pipped over 100m at the Potts Classic in Hastings on Saturday, as the weight of expectation starts to slow him down.

For the past 12 months, Osei-Nketia's been the fastest man in the country - but yesterday, that honour went to training buddy Hamish Gill.

The result was so tight Osei-Nketia had to wait for more than 15 minutes for the final time to come through and then it wasn't good news - edged by one-hundredth of a second. 

"I'm very disappointed in myself," he told Newshub.

That disappointment was evident after the race, with the teenager admitting he has struggled to cope with the new-found hype.

"The attention on me... it's just been too much, growing up to people's expectations." 

As if being the son of New Zealand's fastest-ever man wasn't enough, those expectations skyrocketed, after Osei-Nketia won both NZ and Australian titles last year.

"That was always one of the things last year, we were trying to minimise the noise, because the media are interested," says Athletics NZ high performance manager Scott Goodman.

He believes Osei-Nketia has access to everything he needs to cope with the extra attention.

Eddie's dad, Gus, still holds the NZ 100m record
Eddie's dad, Gus (left), still holds the NZ 100m record. Photo credit: Photosport

Coach Gary Henley-Smith is an experienced athlete and coach, who has a background in school guidance counselling, but one thing they can't control is social media.

"I think, in the modern world, there's more pressure than there's ever been," says Goodman.

Shot put champion Tom Walsh knows that all too well and believes managing that pressure is something only Osei-Nketia can figure out himself.

"I bombed out at world juniors and that was one of the reasons why," says Walsh. "I kind of figured out I needed to do some mental skills stuff." 

Walsh credits that realisation for his success today.

So for someone who hopes to become the world's fastest man, this speed bump might be just the thing Osei-Nketia needs.