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Tebogo: Rising star

For years Kenya has been known in marathons, both middle and distance races, and of recent years Botswana too has been making her name both regionally and internationally in 400 metre dash.

The names Amantle Montsho, Karabo Sibanda and Baboloki Thebe have made the world to believe that Botswana could be a 400 metres hub.

To add to the list of Botswana’s finest sprinters is rising star Letsile Tebogo, who is on the brink of demystifying that races such as 400 metres could be Botswana’s stronghold. 

Tebogo’s performance graph has been something to write home about as he ran 21.12sec during the Botswana Athletics Association championship in March.

In the first event of the year in January he ran 22.21, and went on to prove his mettle over the weekend meet at the National Stadium clocking 20.82, eclipsing both juniors and the seniors in the 200m race.

His coach Dose Mosimanyane described him as a hard worker, disciplined and a little too hard working for his age.

The coach said usually talented athletes of his kind had the worst work ethic, but pronounced him to be different as he was focused and seemed to know what he wanted to achieve.

“He wants to eat, sleep and live athletics, which will make him one dimensional, so I discussed with his mother that we need to encourage him to have a fully-fledged life outside athletics,” he said.

Asked if there were any plans to convert him to Botswana’s traditional race (400m), Mosimanyane said Tebogo was a 200m athlete at the moment. He said he was doing it with 100m and doing quite well there too, “So I’d like to keep it that way,” he said

“His role models being Thebe, Makwala and Steven Gardner, and given the popularity of 400m in his country, he is always trying to convince me that he can also do 400m,” he said.

Mosimanyane, however, said the athlete believed that he was more of a 200/400  than a 100/200, adding that he might be right, but the coach said they were currently focusing in the sprints.

“I would like us to give the short sprints our best shot first because I believe he has what it takes, at least for the remainder of his junior years, but I did promise him that maybe in the future when he’s older and more mature, we can revisit that conversation and try the 400m,” he said.

Tebogo who had qualified for the 2020 World Junior Championship scheduled for Nairobi, Kenya, but was postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic said he was one of the ambitious athletes, and now focusing on qualifying for the Olympics. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Anastacia Sibanda

Location : GABORONE

Event : Interview

Date : Feb 11 Thu,2021

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