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Letsile Tebogo is redefining what talent is in Athletics

Letsile Tebogo: From frustrated footballer to first 100m African medallist at the World Championships 

Letsile Tebogo is redefining what talent is in Athletics.


Letsile Tebogo is 20 years old. He shouldn’t be running 44.29 in only his 4th 400m race. That’s absurd, at the very least, considering he is primarily a 100m/200m runner. But who are we to put a limit on what could potentially be a once-in-a-generation talent in athletics?

Letsile, the schoolboy as he’s fondly called in Botswana, ran his second race of the season at the ASA Athletics Grand Prix in South Africa. Like it’s becoming a norm, the world always stands still whenever the result pops up. This time, he shaved off seconds from his previous personal best time of 44.75.

Letsile Tebogo, World Athletics Championships
Budapest, Hungary
August 19-27, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris

Afterward, Tebogo took to social media to express his perspective on why he ran the 400m, stating, “Great things never come from comfort zones,” in a post on X platform. He revealed that his decision to run the race was driven by a desire to challenge himself and test his speed. Tebogo eagerly anticipates competing in the Diamond League meets as he believes they will provide the ideal platform to bolster his confidence and readiness for the upcoming Paris Olympics.

That’s the scary part. Just over a month ago, Tebogo made history at the Simbine Curro Classic Shoot-Out by setting a new world record in the 300m. Crossing the finish line in an astonishing 30.69s, he shattered the previous record held by the 2016 Olympic champion, Wayde van Niekerk, by an impressive margin of 0.12s. He has now gone quicker than Michael Johnson and Usain Bolt over the distance. His versatility stands him out, and that can be a good thing if managed well.

Letsile Tebogo, 2022 African Champs, photo by Dei Ogeyingbo

Undoubtedly, he is in line to become only the third man to run a sub-10, sub-20, and sub-44 in the men’s 400m history. But Paris beckons, and his rivals should be scared. Back when Tebogo burst into the limelight as an 18-year-old at the World U20 Championships in Nairobi in 2021,

Ultimately, it will fall to Tebogo to show us his full potential.

He is an outrageously good talent. We are only beginning to get a feel for his potential at this level, and he will develop further as he matures physically. He will grow parts of his running style as he looks to evolve in this ever-changing sport. The hype machine hasn’t been left out of talking about his talent.

According to 2004 Olympic Champion Justin Gatlin, he will change the…

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