Letsile Tebogo: “I would have offered my place to Akani Simbine”

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Botswanan sprinter pays tribute to African sprinters who paved the way for him

Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo has paid tribute to the African sprinters who have paved the way for him to become the first man from the continent to reach the podium in the 100m final at the World Athletics Championships.

The 20-year-old stormed to a new national record of 9.88 seconds in the final behind American Noah Lyles on Sunday night, but he said he would have offered up his place to South Africa’s Akani Simbine, who was disqualified from the semifinals after a false start.

“For Akani I’m really sad that he didn’t make it to the final because I really wanted him to be there,” Tebogo said. “Even I could move that space for him… because they have been doing this for a long time and they really deserve the medals.”

Tebogo’s silver medal is a historic achievement for African sprinting, and he is confident that the continent will continue to produce world-class sprinters in the years to come.

“It really shows that the continent has a lot of potential, looking at the likes of Ferdinand and Akani,” he said. “For me I really wanted them to have this medal before me, so that I can come up knowing that I have two African brothers who got this medal and they really motivate me going forward.”

Tebogo will now turn his attention to the 200m, where he is also a medal contender. He recently broke iconic Namibian sprinter Frankie Fredericks’ 26-year-old African record in the event, and he will be looking to challenge Lyles for gold.

“The one thing I’ve learned at these World Championships is that you have to be very well prepared mentally and emotionally,” he said. “If anything distracts you, you can go home.
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Read more about Tebogo https://www.timeslive.co.za/sport/2023-08-20-botswanas-tebogo-wins-africas-first-mens-100m-medal-as-lyles-wins/