MEET 12-YEAR-OLD Brianna Lyston, Jamaica’s new sprinting superstar whose record-breaking performance at the weekend has earned her comparisons to Usain Bolt.
The schoolgirl from Spanish Town won both the 100m and 200m races at the 2017 Boys and Girls Championships, setting a new under-13s record in the latter and becoming the first child in that category to run a sub-24-second time.
She posted a record of 23.72 seconds – almost within two seconds of the senior world record set by Florence Griffith-Joyner at the 1988 Olympics, finishing 0.88 seconds ahead of her nearest rival Oneika McAnnuff to win the 200m final.
The short-distance runner, who attends St Jago High School in Spanish Town, St Catherine, posted 42.41 seconds in the 300m at the Caribbean Union Teachers Championships in Trinidad and Tobago in 2015 – over a second faster than the time clocked by the winner of the boys’ race.
Brianna is ahead of the development curve set by eight-time Olympic champion Usain in his own youth.
As a 12-year-old, Usain began to show his sprinting potential by becoming the fastest 100m runner at his school Waldensia Primary, but his love for all sports meant it was not until he was 14 that he focused on improving his athletic abilities.
The 30-year-old is heading for retirement after the 2017 track and field world championships in London.