Athletics: Tebogo, young African 100 m pioneer

At the age of 20, Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo gave the African continent its first-ever world medal in track and field’s premier race, the men’s 100 m, in Budapest on Sunday.

In the sweltering Hungarian heat, at the end of the home straight, Tebogo’s personal best time of 9 sec 88 was only beaten by Noah Lyles, the face of world athletics, by five hundredths.

The achievement was significant enough that when it was announced at the press conference, it was greeted by applause from Lyles and the third sprinter on the podium, Britain’s Zharnel Hughes.

Before him, a dozen or so, including Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala in the final on the Hungarian track, had broken their teeth. The last to do so before the 2023 edition was South Africa’s Akani Simbine, on three occasions in 2017, 2019 and 2022.

ALSO READ: World Athletics Championships: Tsegay Triumphs in the final meters of the 10,000 as Hassan Falls (Video)

Tebogo has become the promise of world athletics, beyond the African continent, by becoming double world junior champion in the 100 m and double runner-up in the 200 m in 2021 and 2022.

Last year, when he was still 18, he became only the second runner in history to break the ten-second barrier in the 100 m before the age of twenty (with Bromell). A few months later, he broke the 20-second barrier in the 200m.

Nevertheless, his world silver medal exceeded his own expectations. “I’m really proud to win this silver medal. This medal is a bonus for me. That wasn’t the plan, the objective, it was just the final,” admits Tebogo.

Reaching Bolt’s level

By way of comparison, the year he turned 21, Usain Bolt – his “idol” even if he doesn’t “really remember watching” him, because he “never thought he’d be able to make a living from athletics” as a child – didn’t yet know what it was like to run the 100 m in under 10 seconds.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected


Latest Articles