Leotlela dips under 10 sec to qualify for Tokyo

The sprint sensation clocked in at 9.94 sec

Gift Leotlela clocked a lightning 9.94sec to win the 100m at the university athletics championships in Johannesburg.
Gift Leotlela clocked a lightning 9.94sec to win the 100m at the university athletics championships in Johannesburg.
Image: GALLO IMAGES

SA sprint sensation Gift Leotlela qualified for the Olympic Games in emphatic style when he dipped under 10 seconds to win the University Sport SA (USSA) men’s 100m title at the weekend.

The 23-year-old sprinter, who is based at the University of Pretoria’s High-Performance Centre, stopped the clock in 9.94 sec at the University of Johannesburg on Friday.

Leotlela was part of the SA 4x100m relay team that won the gold medal at the Relay World Challenge in Poland three weeks ago.

Leotlela is peaking at the right time. He went into the USSA championships at UJ high on confidence and the modest athlete delivered to book his ticket in the men’s SA 100m Olympic team.

The sprinter qualified for the Olympics in an individual event and took the lead among African sprinters this year. Benjamin Azamati of Ghana and SA 100m champion Akani Simbine also dipped under 10 seconds when they clocked 9.97 and 9.99 in March and April.

Ferdinand Omanyala Omurwa of Kenya registered 10.01 in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30.This means Leotlela has run the fastest time in the men’s 100m event on the continent.

He will then compete in the men’s 100m and the 4x100m relay team at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, in July.

Gauteng Athletics North (AGN) president Hendrick Mokganyetsi said that he is proud of his athlete and hopes that others will follow his example and book their Olympic tickets.

“At AGN we are proud of this young man’s achievements. It is an Olympic year and we want to see the athletes shine and go places. He is improving with each race and peaking at the right time as the Olympics are around the corner,” Mokganyetsi told Sowetan.

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