Abdul Hakim Sani Brown wins the boys' 100m at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 (© Getty Images)
Hands up who thinks Abdul Hakim Sani Brown has a cool name?
Well, at the Pascual Guerrero Stadium on Wednesday night (15), the Japanese proved he is one heck of sprinter too, by striking gold at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 in a boys' 100m championship record time of 10.28 to announce himself as a star of the future.
Behind him, Derick Silva of Brazil lived up to his name by taking silver in 10.49 with Rechmial Miller pipping his fellow Brit Oliver Bromby by 0.01 to clinch bronze in 10.59.
Recording the same time as Bromby was Canadian Chuba Nwachukwu, who was awarded fifth.
Yet this race was all about one man as Sani Brown dominated the final, establishing a clear advantage after 40 metres and then extending his lead in the latter stages to claim an emphatic win.
Sani Brown was the class act of the field during the qualification rounds – trimming 0.01 from the championship record in the heats with 10.30 before matching that time in the semi-final running into a -1.2m/s headwind.
The final had quite an unusual make up as it comprised no Jamaican or US sprinters, but a pair of Japanese, Brazilian and British athletes as well as a Canadian and a German.
Sani Brown, with a characteristic low rise out of the blocks, made little early headway as the two men to his immediate inside, Miller and Silva, appeared to hold the marginal early advantage.
However, as the race progressed, Sani Brown – who has a Japanese mother and Ghanaian father – came to the fore, his slightly forward leaning gait no bar to taking control of the race.
In the final 30 metres, the pre-event favourite came into his own, opening up a wide and unassailable gap over his nearest pursuers to flash past the line in 10.28 – a time made even more impressive given it was into a slight headwind of -0.4m/s.
Sani Brown, who stands at 1.87m tall and weighs 72kg, held a slightly goofy but endearing smile following his success in the mixed zone, but despite the improvement he knows there is room for improvement.
“I need to work more on my start if I am to run quicker,” adds the naturally shy Sani Brown, who is targeting a 100m and 200m double in Cali.
Yet with the confidence you might expect from a sprinter when he was asked the question; did he expect to set the championship record in the final, the 16-year-old simply answered “yes”.
Silva had looked the best of the rest throughout the rounds and produced a solid run in the final to take second spot and earn Brazil’s first medal in this event at the World Youth Championships.
Miller, who chipped 0.05 from his best to record 10.45 in the semi-final, was rewarded with a bronze.
There will be more of the AHSB show when he returns for the 200m heats on Friday morning.
Earlier, one of the potential medal contenders Kyle Appel, for South Africa, was abruptly removed from the equation after making a false start in the first semi-final and he will return for the 200m. Another semi-final victim was Australia’s highly-touted Jack Hale. The boy from Tasmania who recorded a wind-aided 10.13 last December trailed home a tired sixth in the second semi-final in 10.70.
Steve Landells for the IAAF