Prep Rally

Is 17-year-old Yoshihide Kiryu the Japanese Usain Bolt? He sure looks like it

Prep Rally

Yoshihide Kiryu might not roll off the tongue like Usain Bolt, but the 17-year-old Japanese sprinting sensation is lightning fast just the same.

In a startling performance that left everyone in his dust, Kiryu covered 100 meters in 10.01 seconds at the Mikio Oda Memorial in Hiroshima, Japan, tying the junior world record on April 29, according to the Hurriyet Daily News (h/t Huffington Post).

He clocked his record-breaking time in a qualifying heat, and then won the final in 10.03 seconds, defeating 20-year-old Olympian Ryota Yamagata by one-hundredth of a second.

“It’s like a dream," he told the Japanese media. "Honestly, I am surprised.”

Perhaps he shouldn't be too surprised. Kiryu broke the world youth 100-meter record as a 16-year-old twice last year, breaking the tape in 10.21 seconds in October and 10.19 seconds in November, according to the New Strait Times.

Kiryu’s performance late last month tied Trinidad and Tobago's Darrel Brown -- who won four silver medals at the World Championships from 2001-09 -- and American Jeff Demps -- a 4x100-meter silver medalist at last summer's London Olympics and a member of the New England Patriots this past NFL season. They were a year older than Kiryu when they recorded their 10.01-second times.

Next up for Kiryu: The Japanese record. Kiryu reportedly wrote "9.96 seconds" on a blackboard in his classroom at Rakunan (Kyoto, Japan) High, which would break the current national record of 10.00 seconds set by Koji Ito in 1998.

“There is a 100 percent chance that the time will dip below 10 seconds this year,” said Ito, who now serves as sprint director for the Japan Association of Athletics Federations.

Kiryu took his first shot at breaking 10.00 at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix on Sunday, but finished third behind 28-year-old American Mike Rodgers and 29-year-old Bahamian Derrick Atkins in 10.40 seconds while facing a headwind of 1.2 meters per second.

Still, the real prize is Bolt's 100-meter world record of 9.58 seconds from August 2009, and Kiryu has that one circled, too. "I want to run alongside Bolt (at the worlds)," he told the Japanese media, "and see how he is different from me."

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