Absa Kip Keino Classic: Letsile Tebogo wary of rivals despite favourite tag

© Absa Kip Keino Classic.

Absa Kip Keino Classic: Letsile Tebogo wary of rivals despite favourite tag

Joel Omotto 13:39 - 18.04.2024

Botswana sprint sensation Letsile Tebogo is employing a cautious approach heading into the Absa Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi on Saturday.

Botswana sprint sensation Letsile Tebogo may be one of the favourites to triumph at the Absa Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi on Saturday April 20 but he does not see it that way.

The world 100m silver and 200m bronze medallist will feature in the 200m at the Kip Keino Classic where he is up against Americans Courtney Lindsey, Dorian Camel, the 2022 World Relay 4x100m champions, Micaiah Harris, also from the US as well as Kenya’s Samuel Chege.

Brendon Rodney of Canada, Claude Emmanuel of Cameroon, the African Games 200m silver medalist, 2018 Commonwealth Games 100m silver medalist Henricho Bruintjies of South Africa and Italian Fausto Desalu are the others on the 200m roster.

Despite the lineup not being as intimidating as what he has faced before, especially in the Diamond League and World Championships, the former World U20 champion is not taking anything for granted.

“I feel it will be a great show because I came here and won the junior championships,” said the 2021 World U20 100m champion.

“Now we are back here to see what the future holds for us. We don’t know what everyone (other competitors) has been doing behind the scenes. We hope it will be a great show.”

Tebogo, who arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday, accompanied by his coach Kebonyemodisa Dose Mosimanyane, has had a good start to his 2024 campaign, running a world lead 19.94 in 200m at the ASA Athletics Grand Prix in Johannesburg, South Africa as well as lowering his personal best in 400m by running 44.29 in Pretoria in March.

That came after he had shattered the 300m world record in February, clocking an astonishing 30.69 at the Simbine Curro Classic but he is not counting on his past achievements.

“For now, we don’t focus on the past…we need to move on to the next races,” he added.

“If you hold on to the fact that you won a silver medal in the past, you will never progress. So, as much as the silver medal is an added advantage, I don’t want to focus on that but to try a new strategy.”

Meanwhile, world silver medallist for the women’s hammer throw Janee Kassanavoid, is also looking forward to a good show in Nairobi being her fourth time at the Kip Keino Classic.

“I am going to just have fun and try to knock the rust off. I haven’t competed since August so this is sort of my season-opener. I am looking to open with something big and it would be fun,” said the 29-year-old American.

“I have been keeping myself in shape and staying healthy all fall. I have been getting strong again and obviously with Paris [Olympics] on the horizon, it is going to be a big season. It is a good meet this weekend,” she said.

Kassanavoid will come up against four-time world champion Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland – among other competitors – and will be looking to defend the crown she won at last year’s edition of this World Continental Tour Gold event.

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