In the Hungarian swelter, at the end of the straight, Tebogo, personal best in 9.88 seconds, was only beaten by Noah Lyles, the face of world athletics, by five hundredths.
The achievement was significant enough that when it was announced at a press conference, it was greeted by applause from Lyles, and the third sprinter on the podium, Britain's Zharnel Hughes.
Before him, they are a dozen, counting the Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala engaged in the final on the Hungarian track, to have broken his teeth. The latest before the 2023 edition, South African Akani Simbine, three times in 2017, 2019 and 2022.
Tebogo has become the promise of world athletics, beyond the African continent, by becoming double junior world champion in the 100m and double junior world vice-champion in the 200m in 2021 and 2022.
It was last year, when he was still 18, that he became only the second runner in history to break the ten-second barrier in the 100m before the age of twenty (with Bromell). A few months later, he went under 20 seconds over 200 m.
However, his world silver medal exceeded his own expectations. "It's really a great pride to win this silver medal. This medal is a bonus for me. It wasn't the plan, the goal, it was only the final," Tebogo said.
Bolt's "Reaching the Level"
For comparison, the year he turned 21, Usain Bolt - his "idol" even if he "doesn't really remember watching it", because he "never thought he could make a living from athletics" as a child - did not yet know what it was like to run the 100m in less than 10 seconds.
Before coming to athletics, which he only got serious about around "2018-2019, when I realized I could become a professional", Tebogo, raised by a single mother with his younger brother, played football, "winger because of my speed". But he who wrote Saturday a page in the sporting history of his continent finally preferred the practice of an individual sport.
Botswana's Letsile Tebogo after the men's 100m final during the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, August 20, 2023 © Jewel SAMAD / AFP
"I think after this medal, the continent and the country will think about holding more races, and big races that people want to see," said Tebogo, who divides his training between Botswana's capital Gaborone, South Africa and Europe throughout the year.
He also dreams, one day, of an Olympic Games on African soil, "so that people come to see how beautiful Africa is".
"It's time for Africa to take control of the sprint on the international scene," he dared in early 2022 to the specialized site Runblogrun. He who will "try to reach the level" of Bolt has made the first move.
© 2023 AFP