Former American champion explains how Tebogo and Omanyala could define sprinting era in Africa

Former American champion explains how Tebogo and Omanyala could define sprinting era in Africa

Mark Kinyanjui 17:30 - 23.04.2024

The 2004 Olympic Gold medalist believes both Tebogo and Omanyala could help create a path for a new generation of African sprinters like Usain Bolt did for the Carribean.

American sprinting legend Justin Gatlin has identified Letsile Tebogo and Ferdinand Omanyala as potential trailblazers who could define a new era of sprinting in Africa in the coming years.

Tebogo has been making waves in the 2024 track season, showcasing his talent on the ASA Grand Prix Tour and delivering impressive performances at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi. 

Although he finished second to Lindsey Courtney in a photo finish, Tebogo's consistent form has caught the attention of many in the athletics world.

On the other hand, Omanyala, who finished fourth at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, faced disappointment at the Kip Keino Classic due to challenging race conditions. However, his talent and potential have not gone unnoticed, with many seeing him as a rising star in Kenyan sprinting.

Speaking on his 'Ready Set Go' podcast, four-time world champion Justin Gatlin expressed his admiration for both athletes and their contributions to African sprinting.

“He is a pioneer for young sprinters in Africa. Sprinting has always been a missing part of African athletics,” Gatlin said, referring to Tebogo's impact.

“When you think about athletics in Africa, you think about African runners. You think about Ethiopians, you think about Kenyans, and now you start thinking about a sprinter from Botswana, and people like Ferdinand (Omanyala) who is a sprinter for Kenya,” he added.

Gatlin believes that athletes like Tebogo and Omanyala are paving the way for a new era of sprint dominance in Africa, drawing parallels with the impact Usain Bolt had on Caribbean sprinting.

“You are seeing the evolution of athletics in Africa, and you see people like Tebogo becoming the pioneer and flag bearer for sprint dominance for the continent of Africa. I love it, I think it is beautiful,” Gatlin remarked.

“It is the same thing Usain Bolt did. I am not taking a shot at anyone who came before him, but when he came along, he ignited such confidence not just in Jamaica, but in the Caribbean period. It does not matter where you come from, how small your town is, how small your country is, you can get it done if you have the discipline and talent,” he concluded.

As Tebogo and Omanyala continue to rise through the ranks, their performances will undoubtedly inspire a new generation of sprinters across Africa, ushering in a new era of sprinting excellence on the continent.