Letsile Tebogo: 11 top things to know about the 'speed marvel' who's faster than Usain Bolt

Letsile Tebogo

Letsile Tebogo: 11 top things to know about the 'speed marvel' who's faster than Usain Bolt

Funmilayo Fameso 08:23 - 20.02.2024

Botswana's Letsile Tebogo is recognized as the future, and a top contender to break Usain Bolt's World Records. Here are 11 things to know about speed marvel who has already ran faster than the Jamaican track legend.

Only a handful of athletes can brag about being faster than Usain Bolt in an event - Letsile Tebogo has boldly engraved his name on that list.

The Botswana youngster on February 17, blazed to an outstanding new 300m World Record (WR) of 30.69s at the Simbine Curro Classic in South Africa, thus breaking Wayde van Niekerk's previous record of 30.81s set in 2017.

Letsile Tebogo after breaking the 300m World Record

Tebogo's exceptional time not only smashed van Niekerk's record but obliterated Michael Johnson's performance of 30.85s set in 2000 and Bolt's 30.97s in 2010. 

For context, these track icons will go on set ground-breaking WRs in their trademark events - van Niekerk (43.03s current 400m WR), Johnson (19.32s previous 200m WR), and Bolt (19.19s current 200m WR), thereby marking an exponential rise in Tebogo's status as a future sprints WR holder. 

While several conversations highlight the youngster being the heir to Bolt's legendary throne, this article focuses on the top things to know about the 'speed demon' tipped for a legendary track career.

1 - First Sport

Tebogo started as a well-rounded footballer, but injuries hampered his football career, so he focused on running.

2 - First race

He did not take sprints seriously until 2019 when he raced his first major 100m in 10.68s and clocked 21.12s in the 200m.

3 - Letsile Tebogo's first world medal

In his first international championship, Tebogo announced himself to the global athletics world when he won the 100m title and 200m Silver medal at the 2021 World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Letsile Tebogo at the World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya

4 - First history in Botswanan athletics

His exploits in Kenya made him the first athlete from his country to win 100m Gold at any World Championships level. 

Furthermore, he became the second athlete from his country to win a Gold medal at the World U20 Championships, after Nijel Amos. His winning 100m time of 10.19s and 200m time of 20.38s, laid the marker for what to expect from the youngster in 2022.

5 - Second history in Botswanan athletics

In April 2022, Tebogo became the first man from Botswana to break the 10s mark after clocking 9.96s at the Gaborone International Meet, which was a new World U20 Record (WU20R).

6 - First continental medal

At the 2022 African Senior Championships in Mauritius, Tebogo claimed his first senior continental title, cruising to victory in the 200m in a time of 20.26s (3.0m/s), again becoming the youngest winner of this event in the history of the championships. 

7 - Another record-breaking performance in Oregon

At the 2022 World Senior Athletics Championships in Oregon, he did the unthinkable by further improving his WU20R to 9.94s in the 100m heats, defeating former World Champion Yohan Blake and former Africa’s fastest man, Akani Simbine in the process. 

Tebogo defeated former World Champion, Yohan Blake in the 100m heats in Oregon

Tebogo became only the second junior athlete in history after Trayvon Bromell (9.97s) under 10s.

8 - Second World U20 Championships - more records

Again at the World U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia, he was the star performer, as he stamped his authority in the 100m, first with a Championship Record of 10.00s (-0.6m/s) in his heat and then retained his title in a blistering 9.91s, which improved his WU20R despite celebrating with 30 meters to go.

Tebogo celebrating in the final about 30m to the finish line

9 - African Record and meteoric rise in the 200m

Tebogo produced one of the outstanding performances at the 2023 London Diamond League after running a blistering new African Record (AR) in the 200m.

He clocked an outstanding lifetime best of 19.50s for a second-place finish behind world champion Noah Lyles in a world-leading 19.47s, thereby smashing Namibia's Frankie Fredericks's long-standing AR of 19.68s set at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. 

10 - Africa's first 100m medal at the World Championships

Africa had never produced a 100m medallist at the World Championships, but the jinx got broken when Tebogo sped to the silver medal in a new National Record of 9.88s. Five days later, he won a 200m bronze medal behind Lyles and Erriyon Knighton to cap off a historic outing in Budapest.

11 - Endorsement deals

As the face of African sprints and predicted future World Record holder, it is expedient that Tebogo has some mouth-watering deals in his name.

He's professionally signed with Nike and recently announced joining luxurious wristwatch brand TAG Heuer. These two are his top mega deals, as he may have others in his home country Botswana.