Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it Usain Bolt? No, it's a 12-year-old boy who seems to have wings on his heels as he leaves rival athletes for dead in an astonishing burst of speed that has had observers dub him 'the next Usain Bolt'.

James Gallaugher was running the final section of the 4x100m New South Wales primary schools championships in Australia when he seemed to hit the turbo booster to propel him near, on and then beyond the helpless lad in front – in an astonishing 11.72 seconds.

When the baton was handed to him, the youngster, from the small Australian coastal town of Ulladulla, was 20 metres behind the boy in the lead, but what followed next had everyone watching his feat in amazement.

His time would have been enough for him to win the gold medal in the 100metres at the first Olympic Games in 1896. The time was faster than anything else recorded in the US or Australia for his age group.

His coach, Scott Richardson, said the youngster is a 'standout'.

"He is a freak and I mean that in the very best way," he said.

"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.

"He has just got the build and the legs and just the natural propensity to running with a good technique without much interference."

Already, four professional rugby league clubs in Australia have expressed an interest in the youngster as well as Michael Johnson's Spire Athletics Institute in Ohio, America.