• Usain bolt slightly stumbled and suffered an injury in the 2005 World Championships as a 19 year old track sensation
  • The disappointment helped fuel his desire to become a world champion


Comparing Botswana’s budding short sprints star Letsile Tebogo to retired global superstar Usain Bolt may be deemed “too soon” but their meteoric and sudden burst into the limelight as teenagers has a few similarities. Tebogo, much like Bolt, is a double threat as he can dominate the 100m and 200m categories.

Their rise to stardom is a bit similar as they quickly sought to turn from teenage protégées to dominate the senior categories. Tebogo is already a world champion at under 20 level but his pursuit of gold in senior levels has not yet yielded the results his talent promises to produce.

In the ongoing 2022 IAAF World Championships in the USA, he achieved his long sought after world under 20 100m record which he was denied earlier due to a technicality. The teenage sensation stormed to a time of 9.94 which confirmed an under 20 world record in the men’s 100m heats.

The semifinal proved to be a heartbreaking memory for Tebogo as he unfortunately stumbled and ended up finishing seventh, ruling him out of the final. Tebogo’s disappointment draws similarities to Bolt’s 2005 heartache.

The unfortunate ‘stumble’
In the 2005 IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland Bolt was a 19 year old sensation making his senior championship debut in the 200m category. Bolt breezed through the heats to qualify for the 200m final.

However, when Bolt slightly stumbled and sustained an injury in the first few seconds of the race, he then soldiered on to finish last in the race owing to the bad start. What the world did not know at the time was that Bolt would later use that misfortune to fuel his fire and build him up to become the world’s best short distance runner.

Although he was a versatile runner, Bolt focused on 100m and 200m races years later after being troubled by injuries. In the 2007 World Championships he grabbed a silver medal in the 200m category.

The recovery
In 2008 he took the world by storm in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China as he won gold medals in the 100m, 200m. The Jamaican sprinter then went on to achieve a lifelong dream of being a world champion as he grabbed gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay categories. Bolt recovered from numerous injuries and false starts that led to his disqualification in major races to have a stranglehold on every short distance record imaginable.

Tebogo can take a leaf out of Bolt’s book by soldering on and keeping his spirits high with the knowledge that there is still time to make a mark in the senior level and potentially become a world champion in the future. The Botswana star has what it takes to become a global force, how he recovers from the World Championships setback will set the tone for what he wants to achieve on the track.