Leotlela confident of making his mark in Tokyo

Sprinter had a successful athletics 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

Sprint ace Gift Leotlela is going into his second Olympic Games high on confidence after a successful European season.

With eight days to go before the Tokyo Olympics, the University of Pretoria-based athlete has just come of what should be his best campaign in Europe despite all the challenges athletics faced this season due to heightened concerns over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month Leotlela won his first international 100m race in Madrid, Spain, when he clocked 10.15 seconds and finished his European campaign by finishing second (10.37 sec) in Sotteville, France, on Sunday.

“I was young and nervous in Brazil (2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics). I had many races to work on my confidence and improve my running this year. I feel good, and I want to push myself in Tokyo. Anything is possible, and I am in good shape," Leotlela told Sowetan from Tuscany, Italy.

Leotlela is preparing for the Olympics in Italy with his coach Hennie Kriel and training partner Wenda Nel.

“The plan is to make the [100m] finals and enjoy myself in Tokyo."

The Phuthaditjhaba-born athlete set his personal best of 9.94 sec in May, at the university athletics championships held in Johannesburg. It is SA's second fastest time of all time, behind Tuks teammate Akani Simbine's 9.89 sec. 

Leotlela's agent Lee-Roy Newton said:  “Gift is doing well in Europe, and he is high in confidence. We want him to enjoy himself and give his best."

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.