Athletics: Kiwi sprint star Eddie Osei-Nketia to ditch track for American football dream

Kiwi sprint star Eddie Osei-Nketia will put his track career on hold to pursue his American football dreams, after signing for the University of Hawaii.

According to Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the speedster signalled his intent by committing in writing on the first day of the NCAA's official recruiting period for prospects.

Osei-Nketia is the national record holder for the fastest 100m, with his time of 10.08s earlier this year bettering his dad's achievement in 1994.

He is also a three-time national 100m champion, with wins in 2019, 2020, and 2022, and qualified for the recent World Athletics Championships semi-finals.

But despite his meteoric rise to becoming New Zealand's best sprinter, he has revealed his intentions to step away from the sport and join the Rainbow Warriors.

"I'll sign with the 'braddahhood' on Wednesday, " he told Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

"Ever since high school, I always found inspiration to play football one day. "I wanted to play football with some of the top athletes in America."

Osei-Nketia met with former NFL International scout Keiki Misipeka last year, and the two formed a friendship before the latter joined Hawaii as an assistant coach.

After consulting with his family, he realised he had accomplished his goals in track, and football would be the way forward.

"I felt it was time to give American football a try," Osei-Nketia said.

"This is the best option. [Misipeka] made my dreams come true. Without him, it would not be possible. I give thanks to Keiki."

Osei-Nketia is expected to compete at running back or wide receiver for Hawaii.

Athletics NZ have since confirmed they have yet to have a discussion with Osei-Nketia about his decision and are unsure what it means for his track career.

"Athletics NZ and his New Zealand-based coaching team have only received recent confirmation that Eddie Osei-Nketia will be attending the University of Hawaii to play American football," their statement said.

"We have not yet had the opportunity to speak to Eddie about his future and whether it is possible for him to continue competing as an elite sprinter. We are reaching out to Eddie to gain clarity about his future ambitions on the track."