Letsile Tebogo of Botswana made history for the African continent by securing its first-ever world medal in the men’s 100m race, the premier event in track and field, in Budapest, Hungary, amidst scorching temperatures.
According to Africa News, Tebogo’s exceptional performance resulted in a personal best time of 9.88 seconds, placing him just five-hundredths of a second behind Noah Lyles, a prominent figure in world athletics.
During the press conference, the announcement was met with applause from Lyles himself as well as Zharnel Hughes, the sprinter who claimed the third spot on the podium, representing Britain.
The star athlete himself was surprised by his global silver medal, saying, “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.”
Prior to Tebogo’s achievement, several athletes, including Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya, had come close but fell short in their quest for a world medal in the men’s 100-meter race on the Hungarian track. The most recent athlete to come close was South Africa’s Akani Simbine, who achieved this feat three times in 2017, 2019, and 2022.
Tebogo has emerged as a rising star in world athletics, and not just on the African continent. He showcased his potential by becoming a double world junior champion in the 100m and securing double runner-up positions in the 200m in 2021 and 2022.
At the young age of 18, Tebogo made history by becoming only the second runner ever to break the ten-second barrier in the 100m before turning twenty, sharing this distinction with Trayvon Bromell. Just a few months later, he also broke the 20-second barrier in the 200m, further solidifying his talent and potential in the sport.
Going forward, the 20-year-old has set his sights on the 200-meter event, aiming to add another medal to his already impressive collection.
“I think that after this medal, the continent and the country will think about organizing more races, and big races that people want to see,” Tebogo, who divides his training between Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, South Africa, and Europe throughout the year, said.
He attributed his feat to his absence from social media. “Going off social media was a huge thing to do,” Tebogo, who was raised by a single mother with his younger brother, told the BBC. “It wasn’t easy. I tried my best to stay out of it. Here is the result.”