On Sunday July 23, young Botswanan sprinter Letsile Tebogo broke the African 200m record set by Olympic legend Francky Fredericks in 1996. Sport News Africa takes this opportunity to unveil the 5 fastest half-lap times in African history.
In Letsile Tebogo, Africa may well have its first Olympic champion in the men’s 200m. Twice, the best African sprinter in history, Franky Fredericks, has come close. The Namibian was Olympic 200m runner-up in Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996. In the American city, he clocked a stratospheric time of 19s68, placing second behind Michael Johnson (19s32). This time will go down as the best African half-lap record in history for 27 years. It fell this Sunday, July 23, 2023, at the Diamond League in London, erased by the 20-year-old sprinter from Botswana.
Letsile Tebogo, king at 20
Born in Gaborone on June 7, 2003, Letsile Tebogo is undoubtedly the future superstar of African athletics. He’s wreaking havoc and rewriting history with every outing. African senior champion and two-time world junior runner-up in the 200m at the age of 19, the Botswana native became the fastest African ever to run this distance on Sunday with his 19s50. This relegates Francky Frédericks’ 19s68 to 2nd place. In 3rd place among the fastest African times in history is South Africa’s Clarence Munyai. In 2018, when he was just 20 years old, he flirted with Fredericks’ record, clocking 19s69.
Udodi Chudi Onwuzurike just as prodigious
Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru (19s73 in 2019) and Udodi Chudi Onwuzurike (19s76 in June 2023) are in 4th and 5th place. While the former was suspended for doping earlier this year, the latter, aged just 20, should be Letsile Tebogo’s main rival in the years to come.Africa can’t wait to see them compete on the world’s greatest tracks.