Letsile Tebogo: Botswana’s Lightning Bolt is The Gazette’s 2023 Star Athlete 


His exploits on the track have captured the collective imagination of a nation and the global sporting community


The Year 2023 saw Botswana navigating through the ebb and flow of triumphs and tribulations and a name that emerged as the beacon of success on the international stage.

It was Letsile Tebogo, the prodigious athlete whose stellar performances at the Budapest 2023 World Athletics Championships printed his name in the annals of African sporting history.

As the curtain descends on 2023, Botswana’s achievements are spotlighted, and the light shines especially brightly on the remarkable feats of its athletes beyond its borders.

Fiercely competitive 

Tumisang Orebonye and Refilwe Seven Tholakele brought glory in the football arena, but it is Tebogo’s exploits on the track that have captured the collective imagination of a nation and the global sporting community.

The Budapest Championships unfolded as a stage where Tebogo transcended the boundaries of excellence, seizing not one but two coveted medals in the fiercely competitive realm of athletics.

The first resounding note of success reverberated as Tebogo sprinted his way to a silver medal in the 100m event, crossing the finish line in a breathtaking 9.88s.

First African man 

What was special about this achievement is that it was not only a personal triumph but made Tebogo’s the first African man to claim a medal in the men’s 100m at the senior world championships.

The accolades did not conclude with the silver lining as Tebogo would go on to captivate the world once again in the 200m event, seizing a bronze medal with a lightning-fast time of 19.81 seconds.

His prowess on the track was undeniable he came breathing down the necks of American sprinters Noah Lyles and Erriyon Knighton, who clinched gold and silver respectively.

Indomitable spirit 

Lyles covered the distance in 19.52 seconds, while Knighton secured his silver with a time of 19.75s. Tebogo’s bronze, however, was more than a medal; it was a testament to his unwavering dedication and indomitable spirit in the face of formidable opponents.

Notably, Tebogo’s journey to Budapest ’23 was paved with record-breaking achievements, particularly during a diamond league meet where he shattered a 26-year-old African record in the 200m race, clocking an astonishing 19.50s.

This milestone not only solidified his place among the elite but also underscored his capacity to push the boundaries of human endurance, leaving a legacy that resonates far beyond the tracks of Budapest.

Breaking barriers

The significance of Tebogo’s achievements extends beyond personal triumph because it is a source of inspiration not only for aspiring athletes in Botswana but for the entire continent as well.

Breaking barriers, challenging norms, and leaving an indelible mark on the global stage, this native of Kanye embodies the resilience and determination that define the spirit of African athletes.

As we bid adios to 2023, Tebogo stands tall as more than an athlete; he is a symbol of excellence, a trailblazer who has opened new vistas for African athletes, and a testament to the boundless potential of the continent.

Tebogo, Botswana’s Lightning Bolt, has left an indelible mark on the world stage, and his legacy will echo through the corridors of athletic history for years to come.