Montverde Academy's Issam Asinga Is The Real Deal

By Kyle Merber

April 26, 2023

How fast is 0.6 meters per second, really? Because if the wind was moving just the tiniest bit slower, then Issam Asinga’s 100m time would have DESTROYED the high school national record of 10.00. The Montverde Academy senior ran 9.83 (+2.6) in Florida this weekend, and it sent ripples across the track world.

The time itself is of course incredible, but the man in second was none other than the American record holder over 200m, Noah Lyles. Now 9.92 seconds in a bubble is a great time for a professional in April and sets the World Champion up well for the postseason. (A race that’s only viewable via footage from an iPhone should hardly be considered the championship season.)

Of course, when you are the best in the world, the trolls are going to take every opportunity possible to be dismissive. There were already question marks about Lyles’ ability to do the 100m/200m double in Budapest, and even a breakthrough 6.51 performance in the 60m wasn’t satisfying for all. And Noah, being a fellow Internet guy, heard those comments and answered via Instagram:

“I’ll say this once…Issam Asinga is very talented and he is peaking for states which is coming soon. I’m peaking for worlds in August 19th.”

Asinga indirectly responded in a story that the goal has been Worlds the whole time. Doesn’t this all feel familiar? It was only a year ago that Erriyon Knighton, then in high school, ran 19.49 during April with every critic with a Twitter account writing off Lyles as the best gold medal hope for the US. Granted, Erriyon held on quite well for bronze!

But there is a difference between saying that you are training to peak at Worlds and having done it many times before. Only time will tell how it unfolds, but two things are for certain: Lyles is exactly where he needs to be right now in his own build-up. This performance surpasses where he has been at this point in the season in years past. And whether or not Asinga runs faster this year, let alone wins a medal at Worlds – he is the real deal.

Now the question remains: who does Issam represent there? If you want to know how an 18-year-old is running so fast, then look no further than his Olympian parents. His father, Tommy, was an 800m runner for Suriname, and his mother, Ngozi, was a 400m runner for Zambia. Get this kid in a 600 – and in a US singlet please!

Kyle Merber

After hanging up his spikes – but never his running shoes – Kyle pivoted to the media side of things, where he shares his enthusiasm, insights, and experiences with subscribers of The Lap Count newsletter, as well as viewers of CITIUS MAG live shows.