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British student Louie Hinchliffe runs Europe’s fastest 100m of the year

Hinchliffe the British Sprinter breaking records
Hinchliffe, right, won an American college title - Getty Images/C. Morgan Engel

Carl Lewis has backed Great Britain’s 21-year-old sprint sensation Louie Hinchliffe for an Olympic place after he became the first European to win the American collegiate 100 metres title.

With his time of 9.95 seconds – the fastest this year by a European and among the top 10 in the world – Hinchliffe followed in the footsteps of Lewis himself by landing the prestigious NCAA title that is usually the preserve of the best young American sprinters.

He will now head to the Olympic trials in Manchester later this month with an outstanding chance of a top-two finish that would guarantee his place in Paris following his move to the University of Houston, where Lewis is head coach.

Hinchliffe, who is from Sheffield and studied at the University of Lancaster, teamed up with Lewis last August after getting hold of the legendary nine-times Olympic champion’s mobile number and sending him a WhatsApp message. “He reached out to me to transfer,” Lewis told Citius Mag. “He understood what we are trying to do – bought into the programme straight away. He’s a great kid who is running phenomenal and is going to do very well. From day one, I told him, ‘The goal is to get you in that Olympic team’ and he’s going to make it. I’m so proud of him.”

Hinchliffe had also been a promising golfer but took the decision when he was 16 to concentrate on both his athletics and studies in Lancaster, where he would have to take a 30-minute bus ride to an athletics track. He now has another two years in Houston, where he can train daily with Lewis at their state-of-the-art facilities.

Hinchliffe has also already run a wind-assisted 9.84sec 100m this year and Lewis said that it was now important to “stay away from all the madness” that might follow his breakthrough. “He’s the kind of guy who can handle it – a tremendous young man, very smart,” said Lewis.

Hinchliffe, who calls himself a “late bloomer”, said that the pressure of the race had helped him and that he had simply stayed relaxed.

“Everything was on the line – it brought out the best in me,” he said. “The main job is the Olympics and I will now shift my focus to the Olympic trials.”

Of his message to Lewis last August, which asked “can you fix me”, he said: “He was just, ‘Let’s talk’. We had a long phone call and he saw a lot of potential in me – I was grateful for that.”

Hinchliffe won the English national title in 2022 and spent the 2023 season with Washington State before transferring to Houston. Coming into 2024, his personal best was 10.17sec.

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