Paris 2024: Why Letsile Tebogo's 30.69s World Record is a stern warning to Noah Lyles's Olympic ambitions

Paris 2024: Why Letsile Tebogo's 30.69s World Record is a stern warning to Noah Lyles's Olympic ambitions

Funmilayo Fameso 16:51 - 17.02.2024

Letsile Tebogo's World Record-breaking performance in Pretoria is not just a big statement to Noah Lyles's Olympic ambitions in Paris but Usain Bolt's 200m World Record of 19.19s. Here's why.

Running faster than three of the greatest sprinters in history is no ordinary feat, which Letsile Tebogo has done with so much ease to emerge as the new 300m World Record (WR) holder.

The Botswana youngster clocked an outstanding 30.69s at the Simbine Curro Classic in South Africa to break Wayde van Niekerk's previous WR of 30.81s set in 2017.

By doing this, he also surpassed Michael Johnson's 30.85s in 2000 and Usain Bolt's 30.97s in 2010, who both went on to clock below 19.35s in the 200m in the later stages of their careers.

Tebogo's exceptional performance in South Africa has now made him a top contender for the Olympic 200m title in Paris, putting world champion Noah Lyles in a tight corner on not being the outright favourite to become the Olympic champion.

Letsile Tebogo warns Noah Lyles ahead of Paris Olympics
Letsile Tebogo after breaking the 300m World Record

Lyles has been bragging in recent weeks that he's gunning for a quadruple of gold medals at the Olympics, even to the extent of disrespecting his rivals after he clocked a 60m world-leading time of 6.44s for victory in the event at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston.

"I don't care who wants them, they're mine" - the American speedster said after his race as a reference to going for a three-peat at the Paris Olympic Games.

He has stayed undefeated in the outdoor 200m for two years, and even after stepping down to the 100m at the world championships in Budapest, he claimed the title, thus making a bold claim of his talent and ambition of having all of Bolt's legacy, even the WRs.

Tebogo, on the other hand, made history in Budapest by becoming Africa's first male world 100m medallist (silver behind Lyles) in addition to a 200m bronze medal.

Letsile Tebogo became Africa's first men's 100m medallist at the World Championships in Budapest

However, before Budapest, Lyles survived a rare scare of 19.47s victory ahead of the 20-year-old who clocked a blazing African 200m Record of 19.50s - a huge statement to be Lyles's closest challenger on his supremacy in the event.

Now with Tebogo's opening 300m WR-breaking performance in South Africa, barring unforeseen circumstances, the Botswana speedster will have Lyles working harder so he won't be stunned in his attempt for his first Olympic 200m title in Paris.