Leotlela sees Olympic delay as a gift horse

Sprinter labels Madrid race highlight of the season

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

The Olympic Games cannot come soon enough for talented SA sprinter Gift Leotlela. The 23-year-old admitted that he would not have qualified for the Games if they went ahead last year, due to poor form and injuries.

The talented sprinter, who is coached by Hennie Kriel at Tuks, qualified for the Games at the University Sport SA (USSA) Games at the University of Johannesburg when he clocked 9.94 seconds last month.

Leotlela crossed the finish line first in 10.15 to win a race in Madrid, Spain, on Saturday night, in what he feels was his best performance of the year so far.

“The race went well and I am happy with the win, considering that I had a rough start to my European season. It is a big win for me and I see it as the highlight of my season so far. This win will serve as a confidence booster for the Olympics and the other European races. It can only get better from now,” Leotlela told Sowetan from his base in Gemona, Italy.

He feels excited and cannot wait for the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, next month.

Leotlela was part of the SA 4x100m relay team that won the gold medal at the Relay World Challenge in Poland in May. He will run in the men's 100m and the 4x100m relay at the Games.

The father of one said he is in the best possible shape and is ready to take on the world at the Olympics.

Before that he is set to run in Poland on June 30 and in Belgium on July 3. “I will speak to my coach and agent to decide on the two races.

"We will have a discussion and see if the two races are good for me or not. If you wake me up to run in the Olympics I am ready, as the postponement played into my hands,” added Leotlela.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.