Lettsile Tebogo, of Botswana smashed the 100 meter world record at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia.
The 19-year-old phenom drew comparisons to a young Usain Bolt as the young sprinter started to celebrate with 30 meters left before the finish line.
After Tebogo won, Bolt tweeted “World Juniors I see.” - a tweet Tebogo was honored to read. “It’d be a very great pleasure for me to meet him.”
In a flash off the blocks Tebogo was out to an early lead, and established a pace that no U20 athlete has ever run before. With around 30 meters to go, he raised his right hand and began wagging his index finger at his Jamaican rival, Bouwahjgie Nkrumie. As he crossed the finish line - with a new world record of 9.91 - Tebogo was all smiles.
“The statement was to come out and enjoy the race,” he said. “If somebody took it as disrespect, I’m really sorry. I saw the fans and (it was so) everybody watching at home can enjoy the race – to remind them a little bit about what Usain Bolt did back in the days. He’s my idol – the person I look up to.” Tebogo told World Athletics.
Tebogo, who will enroll at the University of Oregon this fall went into the race confident but also wary of the talented field he faced.
“I saw they were scared of me, but I was also scared of them,” he said. “When the gun went off I had to make sure I made the best start of my life and it was the best start of my life. I didn’t plan (the celebration) but as soon as my first step I knew the title was mine. I didn’t worry about the time. I didn’t look.”
Many trackside spectators pondered what Tebogo’s time may have been if he went all out? - Tebogo emphatically said: “9.80″
“We have more races to come, we didn’t want to go that far,” said Tebogo, “But this is my year as a junior, we have to leave (the record) here for the next generation to come and break it.”