Berliner Tageblatt - African sprinters primed to dominate track season, says Tebogo

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African sprinters primed to dominate track season, says Tebogo
African sprinters primed to dominate track season, says Tebogo / Photo: © AFP

African sprinters primed to dominate track season, says Tebogo

Botswana's 100m world silver medallist Letsile Tebogo said Thursday he believes 2024 will be the year African sprinters step up to dominate a track season that culminates in the Paris Olympics.

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The 20-year-old has already made a sparkling start to the season with a world record performance in the men's 300 metres in South Africa in February.

Tebogo is set to compete on Saturday in the 200m at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi, part of the World Athletics Continental Tour, the competition a tier below the Diamond League.

"I strongly believe this is an African year because when you look at Ferdy (Omanyala of Kenya) and Akani (Simbine of South Africa) and myself, we are there to leap over," he told reporters.

In Budapest last year, Tebogo became the first African to win a 100m medal at the World Championships and also added the 200m bronze to his collection.

Omanyala only finished seventh in that world 100m final but holds the African record of 9.77sec.

"Omanyala is the fastest man in Africa in the 100 and I am the fastest in the 200," Tebogo said.

The Botswana sprinter said he was happy to return to Kenya where he started his career at the Under-20 world championships in 2021, winning the 200m silver medal behind Nigeria's Udodi Onwuzurike.

Tebogo will face American Courtney Lindsey who ran a world-leading 19.88sec in Florida last Friday.

Omanyala will be competing in his first 100m of the year.

"This season I changed my coaches and now I am starting the season with a different mentality. I haven't done the 100m for eight months," said the 28-year-old.

"I don't how this one is going to be but we'll see," said Omanyala, who has reduced his heavily-muscled frame to become a leaner athlete.

- 'Start 2024 with a bang' -

He is set to face American Kenny Bednarek, the Olympic 200m silver medallist in Tokyo, and Kenyan compatriot Mark Otieno, who is returning to international competition after his two-year suspension for doping expired in November.

Namibian Olympic 200m silver medallist Christine Mboma will launch her track comeback when she races over 100m in her first competitive event in 20 months.

"I feel good coming back and running again in Kenya. I have been training and I am preparing for the Olympics and hope to use this event as a preparation," said Mboma, who became Namibia's first female Olympic medallist in Tokyo in 2021.

American world hammer throw silver medallist Janee' Kassanavoid will face Polish three-time Olympic champion Anita Wlodarczyk.

"It is super exciting to be back in Nairobi. The crowd is amazing and I am hoping to start this year 2024 with a bang," said Kassanavoid, who has a personal best of 78.00 metres.