Why Letsile Tebogo might just be the next Usain Bolt

ATHLETICS Why Letsile Tebogo might just be the next Usain Bolt

Abigael Wafula 09:30 - 30.04.2023

Bolt is the 100m world record holder, while Tebogo is the world under-20 100m record holder, and he might just take over the 100m.

At the tender age of 15, legendary Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt kickstarted his athletics career, and the latest kid on the block, Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo, might be keen on following in his footsteps.

Like Bolt, the eight-time Olympic champion, Tebogo started off in 2019 at 15 years. At the time, the youngster only competed in local tournaments, and little attention was drawn to him.

Bolt’s case is a bit different because, at 15, he got a chance to represent his country at the 2001 World Youth Championships, his first-ever international competition.

It was until 2021 that Tebogo was able to make it to Botswana’s national team and compete at the World Athletics Relays in May, but unfortunately, his team fizzled out to finish 11th.

He then sought redemption at the 2021 World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi. He was doubling over the 100m and 200m, and in both races, he was spectacular in how he competed. It was just like seeing a younger version of Bolt compete.

He won the 100m in 10.19 and settled for second place over the 200m in 20.38. That must have been the beginning of a new dawn for him.

He went ahead to compete at the 2022 African Championships, his first-ever competition with the seniors, where he managed to win the 200m in 20.26. However, the 4x100m relay team he was part of did not qualify for the final.

He also tried his luck at the World Championships in Oregon but unfortunately faded to finish 16th in the semifinal of the 100m in 10.17, a new PB for him.

During last year’s World Under-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia, Tebogo went to defend his 100m title and successfully set a new under-20 world record time of 9.91. He displayed a sub-10 performance in his second World Championships event.

Over the 200m race, he settled for second place in 19.96 and set a new under-20 African record.

The variations in his performance and Bolt’s are that he has managed to have two back-to-back world junior titles over the 100m while Bolt had only one title over the 200m in the World junior championships in 2002.

Bolt’s first gold medal at the World Championships was in 2019 when he was 23 years old, and maybe, Tebogo might achieve that feat before he turns 23. He might be missing on the top 10 fastest 100m sprinters, but he might be on the top of the table soon.

The Olympics are the only big stage Tebogo is yet to display his heroics. Tebogo must display prowess if he competes in the Paris Olympics next year. Bolt won his first-ever Olympic gold medal over the 100m in 2008 at 22 years old.

During the Botswana Golden Grand Prix held on Saturday, April 29, Tebogo settled for second place in 9.91 behind Africa 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala who clocked 9.78. That was a remarkable performance from the budding sprinter since the field had attracted some of the biggest names. He also went ahead to win the 200m at the event.

Bolt is the 100m world record holder, while Tebogo is the world under-20 100m record holder, and he might take over the 100m. He is one youngster to watch soon and might be the record-breaker.

Tebogo has also emulated Bolt’s running style, where he stares at the opponent on his way to the finish line. It shows his passion for being the next Bolt, and he might be just that and more.