Athletics: Sprint prodigy Tiaan Whelpton pushing Eddie Osei-Nketia in pursuit of long-standing record

While sprinter Eddie Osei-Nketia continues to chase his dad Gus' national 100-metre record, he's now also looking over his shoulder at a friend and rival who believes he can beat him to it. 

Tiaan Whelpton, 21, will soon head across the Tasman to compete against Osei-Nketia, as they race for a place in history. 

"My goal was certainly to break the record coming into the season, and I feel it's certainly something I'm very much capable of," Whelpton tells Newshub. 

That record is currently 10.11s, set by Gus Nketia at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. 

In March last year, Nketia's son came within a whisker of reaching the elusive time, running 10.12s in Australia. 

But now, Osei-Nektia's friend and fierce rival Whelpton has emerged as a genuine contender to become the first to crack that mark.

His confidence is rising after a blistering 10.18s run at the Potts Classic last month, putting his mate on notice. 

"He obviously wants the records because it's his dad's," says Whelpton. 

"I obviously want to take it before he can. At the end of the day it's just good fun and I think in the next couple of seasons we'll both go under that time anyway.

"Me and Edde are great mates and I think we really do bring out the best in each other. Running together is normally when we run our quickest times."

Originally from South Africa and now training in Christchurch, Whelpton will compete in Australia over the coming months, joining Osei-Nketia across the Tasman in search of some tougher competition. 

“Getting over to Australia's really important," he notes. "In regards to 100 metres, they've got some really quick tracks, good conditions. Tracks like Canberra are at altitude, so there’s a little bit less air resistance.” 

But according to coach Andrew Maclennan, Whelpton still has plenty of work to do. 

"He's born with a lot of gifts for sure, but crossing T’s and dotting I's - all those sorts of things -  need to be done to take it from where he is now, to world class - potentially a sub-10 guy," says Maclennan.

"This year has certainly given him a lift. I think he’s definitely capable of (breaking the national record). 

"It's not going to happen in a heartbeat, it's sustained work over a long period of time that's going to allow that to come out.” 

Not content with chasing the national record, Whelpton has also set his sights set on the Commonwealth Games this year. 

"I managed to run the 'B' qualification over in Potts (Potts Classic) but it wasn't wind legal," he says. 

"Hopefully, if I can get a wind legal qualification, I can get to the Commonwealth Games. It's been the wallpaper on my phone for the better part of a year now, so it's certainly in my sights." 

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