Four NRL clubs and a prestigious athletics school in America have expressed an interest in a 12-year-old from the NSW south coast who has the potential to be 'the greatest sprinter Australia has ever had'.
James Gallaugher, from the small coastal town of Ulladulla, has shot to prominence after a remarkable You Tube clip surfaced from the recent NSW primary schools championships.
The clip shows Gallaugher come from at least 20m behind with 100m to go to lead his team to victory in the the 4x100m relay.
The 12-year-old has a personal best time of 11.72 seconds over the 100m, which makes him faster than any boy his age in Australia or the United States.
His best 200m time of 23.76sec is also faster than any 12-year-old in the States.
NRL clubs Parramatta, Newcastle, South Sydney and the Wests Tigers have already expressed an interest, while the Michael Johnson Spire Athletics Institute in Ohio has also made contact.
"James is a standout. I wouldn't just say it because he is someone I coach. He is a freak and I mean that in the very best way," former sprinting champion Scott Richardson told News Ltd.
"When I talk about him with my wife and my family, we just say he is going to be the greatest sprinter we have ever had if he keeps improving at the rate which he is."
But NRL clubs should be warned that the 12-year-old has his sights set on a sprinting career.
"Footy is more fun because you play with your mates but I want to be a runner. It just feels good to be in front," he said.
To put Gallaugher's times in context, his personal best for the 100m is less than 1.5 seconds slower than the time Joshua Ross posted in winning 100m final at the Australian Championships earlier this year.
Richardson says if Gallaugher continues to improve at his current rate, he could be running competitive men's times within a matter of years.
"He has just got the build and the legs and just the natural propensity to running with a good technique without much interference."If he increases his speed on what he is running now which is 11.7 for electronic, he is going to be running 10.9s in the not-too-distant future which is incredible for someone his age."