IF it was not apparent before, it is now very clear that teen phenomenon Christine Mboma is a serious contender for Olympic honours.

The 18-year-old decimated the women’s 400 m field at the Irena Szewińska Memorial meeting in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Wednesday evening, winning in 48,54 seconds to post the seventh-fastest mark in history.

Mboma also set a new u20 world record, African record, national record, meeting record, and personal best and world-leading time.

Given her tender age and low profile, Mboma’s performance at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting is arguably the most outstanding display by any athlete headed to the Olympics in Tokyo.

She finished a staggering 20 metres ahead of the second-placed athlete – current European champion Justyna Święty-Ersetic of Poland.

Portugal’s Catia Azevedo was a distant third in 52,03.

“I feel really great. The race was very good. I really enjoyed the race. I didn’t expect to run 48 seconds, it’s too much for me,” Mboma said in a video clip after the race.

“You don’t do this. You’re not supposed to do this to world class athletes,” a disbelieving race commentator said as Mboma stormed down the home straight.

A rugged runner, Mboma is more raw talent than the finished article. She again stumbled from the starting blocks, but quickly composed herself and reeled in her rivals after about 80 m in.

Arms flailing by her side instead of in tandem with her stride, she blitzed passed them at the 100 m mark and just kept going.

Such was her staggering acceleration that it seemed the others were running backwards or in slow motion.

“It is indeed a great achievement, which provides good motivation for other athletes that it is possible to be competitive on the international stage,” Athletics Namibia (AN) said yesterday.

With that lung-busting performance, Mboma has firmly thrust herself into the Tokyo 2020 podium conversation.

Unwilling to place undue pressure on the fledglings, Athletics Namibia offered a pragmatic response to whether she and her training partner Beatrice Masilingi, who has also dazzled in Europe over the past few weeks, are medal contenders.

“Both Beatrice and Christine are still very young and we believe that with commitment, dedication and discipline they should be able to keep improving on their performances,” AN said.

“The Olympic Games are a very competitive platform, and we hope that it will be a wonderful experience for all our athletes who have qualified.