After suffering a leg injury in 2018, Abdul Hakim Sani Brown is back chasing records, becoming the second Japanese sprinter to break the 10-second barrier in the men's 100 meters.

Sani Brown, 20, won the 100 meters finals in a time of 9.99 seconds, with a tail-assisted wind of 1.8 meters, in a collegiate meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on May 11. He met the qualifying standard of 10.5 seconds to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Previously, Japanese sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu, who was then competing for Toyo University, ran the first sub 10-second time of 9.98 seconds in 2017.

The achievement marks an impressive milestone for Sani Brown with the Olympics on the horizon. This season, training and competing for the University of Florida, which offers one of the top collegiate track programs in the United States, has paid off.

Although he was thinner when he was training in Japan, Sani Brown is now more muscular and has become stronger.

About two years ago, when he set a personal best of 10.05 seconds in the 100 meters, he said, "Whenever the (nine-second mark) comes, it will come.”

Sani Brown was born to a Ghanaian father and a Japanese mother. When he was a second-year student of Josai High School in Tokyo, he won both the 100- and 200-meter races at the World Youth Championships in 2015. In the 200 meters, he broke the record time set by Usain Bolt of Jamaica.

In the 2017 World Championships in Athletics in London, Sani Brown qualified for the finals in the 200 meters, the youngest ever at 18 years and five months, breaking the previous record set by Bolt.

Sani Brown placed seventh in the race. He has competed for the University of Florida since September 2017.

His speed is generated from his long stride. With a height of 188 centimeters, the length of his stride is longer than most other runners.

According to a 2017 survey compiled by the Japan Association of Athletics Federations, Sani Brown's stride often exceeds 225 cm, and he can cover 100 meters with only 44 steps.

His high potential has been acknowledged since his high school days. Takahiko Yamamura, a former Olympian, who trained Sani Brown as a coach of his high school team, said in the past, “He can move his body firmly even with his 190-cm height.

In addition to his stride, his ability to move his feet quickly was better than other athletes around him.”

However, Sani Brown's challenge has been to overcome his relatively slower foot speed compared to his rivals.

After graduating from high school, he worked on improving his foot speed while training in Holland.

Many top athletes including Justin Gatlin of the United States, the 100-meter silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics, have raved about the young Japanese sprinter's potential and bright future.

“In the end, I want to set a world record,” Sani Brown has said about his goal.

(Hiroki Tohda contributed to this article.)