Letsile Tebogo: Botswana's 'Usain Bolt' Sets First Sub 20 in 2024 as Noah Lyles Battle Looms

Letsile Tebogo: Botswana's 'Usain Bolt' Sets First Sub 20 in 2024 as Noah Lyles Battle Looms

Martin Moses
updated at March 28, 2024 at 7:45 AM
  • Letsile Tebogo is undoubtedly one of the most promising young sprinters in the world
  • He became the first person to dip below the 20-second mark in the 200m this year
  • The Botswanan star is among the athletes to watch out for at the Paris Olympics

The 2024 outdoor sprinting season has been fixated around Noah Lyles and his bold ambition to win four gold medals at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

Well, if the 2023 World Championships in Budapest and the 2024 World Indoor Championships are anything to go by, the American deserves all the attention he is getting.

Letsile Tebogo, Noah Lyles, Erriyon Knighton, World Athletics Championships, Paris 2024 Olympics, Usain Bolt
Letsile Tebogo, Noah Lyles, and Erriyon Knighton celebrate after finishing third, first, and second respectively in the men's 200m at the 2023 World Championships. Photo by Ben Stansall.
Source: Getty Images

But amid all these, it might have gotten lost in some quarters that there are some other elite sprinters who might give Lyles a run for his money and even go one better to replicate what Usain Bolt, the greatest ever to do it, achieved.

One such person is Letsile Tebogo, who - at only 20 years of age - has ruffled feathers and has forced the world to take cognisance of him.

Letsile Tebogo's achievements

On March 27, the Botswana athlete became the first person to run a sub-20 race in 2024 in the 200m when he clocked 19.94 seconds to win the South African Grand Prix.

The world-leading time is the latest in the Botswanan's incredible list of performances as he seeks to challenge for Olympic medals later this year.

His favourite sprint discipline is still debatable, but Tebogo has seemingly 'achieved more' in the 100m. He won and successfully defended the 100m title at the World U20 championships in Nairobi 2021 and Cali 2020 before transitioning to senior level, where he took silver behind Lyles in Budapest.

At the junior championships 200m, he won silver in both competitions and a bronze medal behind Lyles and Erriyon Knighton in Budapest.

Letsile Tebogo's personal bests

Tebogo's personal bests are the one thing that has left fans convinced that he might just challenge Bolt's records one day. He took 9.88 seconds to win the silver medal in the 100m in Budapest.

A couple of days before the Budapest championships, he dropped 19.50 in the 200m, which is the sixth-fastest time ever in the discipline, according to World Athletics figures.

This year, he has given strong indications that he might also do well in the 400m. He set a new world record in the unconventional 300m, running a time of 30.69. Not even Bolt hit such a figure during his days.

Tebogo followed it up with a new personal best in the 400m with a time of 44.29 seconds.

What next for Tebogo?

Participating in the 100, 200m and 400m at the Paris Olympics might be a tall order, and he might be forced to settle on two events. The outdoor season is just starting, and there is no telling which event he might choose but expectation is rife that he will definitely line up in the 100m.

Lyles might be hogging all the attention with exquisite performances, new Adidas deals and TV shows, but Tebogo is forcing everyone else to take note.

Asafa Powell's top sprinters

Sports Brief also previously reported that Asafa Powell named his top five sprinters of all time.

The retired Jamaican athlete set two world records in the 100m before Usain Bolt hit the scene.

Powell surprisingly left out the second-fastest athlete of all time, Yohan Blake, from his elite list.

Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)