Issamade Asinga, another young man who amazes the world and thrills athletics with a “new Bolt”

Issamade Asinga, another young man who amazes the world and thrills athletics with a “new Bolt”
Issamade Asinga breaks the junior world record in the 100 meters in the South American Championship in São Paulo

Some people say that there are as many GOATs as sports fans on our planet. In other words, those of us who love these expressions don’t need anyone to legitimize our choice in this regard.

It’s not even easy to choose just one even within the same discipline.

Mark Spitz or Michael Phelps? Katie Ledecky, Jenny Thompson, or Kristin Otto? Yelena Isinbayeva, Sergei Bubka or Armand Duplantis? Vera Caslavska, Nadia Comaneci or Simone Biles?

Any choice is valid. Personally, what I deeply celebrate is having been able to enjoy all of them and hundreds of other geniuses.

In addition, any definition is conditioned by the reference parameter chosen. World titles, Olympic medals, records, popularity, charisma or media impact. Each of these logics and so many more alone suffices to choose Roger Federer over Rafael Nadal or Rod Laver over Martina Navratilova.

Every so often one encounters an extraordinary case of an athlete who meets all the requirements and more: Usain Bolt has not only been a phenomenon of tracks and chronometers, but has had the luxury of being, for almost a decade, an undisputed convening factor for which millions of people wanted to see nothing less than an athletics tournament in the stadiums or on TV.

It is also natural and unnecessary that, once the phenomena retires, we tend to spend the day looking for a successor.

Issamade Asinga
Issamade Asinga was born in the United States and represents Suriname because of her father, Tommy, a three-time Olympian for her country.

Athletics is on the lookout for the “new Bolt” and every year a young sprinter appears who is compared to the legend. When a youth time owned by the Jamaican falls, the alarm for the “new Bolt” starts to ring and it makes it even louder when a world record is broken, such as the one just won by Issamade Asinga.

Asinga was born on December 29, 2004 in the United States, competes for Suriname (his father was born there) and had been anticipating the junior world record in the 100 meters that he achieved in the South American Championship in Brazil. On April 23, in Clermont (Florida), it had set the clocks at 9.83 and 9.86; a week later, in Texas, it ran at 9.89. However, none of the times were approved by the wind conditions.

Finally, the big day came on July 28 on the track of the Villa Clementina Olympic Center in São Paulo: Asinga won the final with a time of 9.89 and set a new world record by surpassing the 9.91 that Letsile Tebogo had set on August 2, 2022, at the U20 World Cup in Cali. He also kept the absolute South American record held by Brazilian Robson da Silva, since 1988, with 10.00 seconds.

Asinga’s first link to athletics is because of his family. Tommy, his father, is the best middle distance runner in Suriname and was present in Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996; while his mother is Ngagi Mwanawamba, a sprinter from Zambia, who was also at the Barcelona and Atlanta Games. Issamade could compete for three countries and chose the South American one.

“I feel connected to Suriname because of its culture and memories… I want to continue that legacy and add my own part to it,” said the young sprinter, who beat local Erik Cardoso (9.97) and Colombian Ronal Mosqueira (9.99) in the South American Championship in São Paulo, who also dropped the 10 second time.

Asinga’s time is the fourth of the year (the British Zharnel Hughes has the best of 2023 with 9.83 seconds) and in São Paulo he scored a double when he won the 200 meters, a test in which in April he achieved a national high school record by scoring 19.97 in the Texas Tech Corky/Crofoot Shootout. Who did he overcome? Noah Lyles (he was 20.09 since 2016), who a few days ago won the Diamond Leagues in London with 19.47 and thus broke the competition record held by Usain Bolt with 19.76 since 2008.

The world record of 9.58 in the 100 and the 19.19 record in the 200 meters today seem unattainable, although athletics are still searching for the “new Bolt’’. Without going too far back, in 2021 Erriyon Knighton appeared to caress the podium in Tokyo at the age of 17; in 2022 it was the time for Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo, in March of this year Bouwahjgie Nkrumie broke Jamaica’s national record and now it’s Issamade Asinga who takes the stage.

Let us know that the different ones do not have successors. If there could be a new Michael Jordan, it wouldn’t have been exceptional to be Michael Jordan.

Anyway, we are excited about the idea that someone can make us miss the Jamaican phenomenon a little less.

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