Israel’s Blessing Akawasi Afrifah was in disbelief he had pipped race favourite Letsile Tebogo to clinch a gold medal in men’s 200m at the World U20 Championships on Friday.
The two lads pushed each other to the limit, at the end of a tremendous 200m clash, there was just six thousandths of a second in it to separate the winner as they both clocking 19.96 (-0.1m/s).
The particular championship record moved them to joint third on the world U20 all-time list, as the rising sprint stars brought track action on day four of the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22 to a thriller.
It was Israel’s 18-year-old Afrifah who won the tight race, denying 19-year-old Tebogo of Botswana a second world U20 title in Colombia after his 100m win two days earlier.
However, Afrifah was not sure if he had finished the race ahead Tebogo;
“I’m so emotional. I’m out of words,” said Afrifah, who finished seventh in the final at last year’s World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi. “For a second, I thought ‘OK, I’m second, but I am very happy to be second to Tebogo’. I achieved my dream.”
Afrifah has been sensational in the competitions, running three consecutive PBs – 20.37, 20.17 and then 19.96. Tebogo has also been impressive following his 100m victory with a championship record of 19.99 in the heats.
But given the manner in which he won the 100m title, breaking the world U20 record despite celebrating before the finish, the majority of attention was on Tebogo, to see what he could do over the double the distance.
On his part, Tebogo said: “This is the best race that I have ever run in my life so far. I’m really grateful for the performance and it’s not everybody who can run these fast times, four days in a row.”
Never before had two U20 athletes broken 20 seconds for 200m in the same race. It was a European U20 record for Afrifah and an African U20 record for Tebogo.- Advertisement -