World U20 records were broken in men’s sprint events in two different continents on the same day as Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo ran 9.96 for 100m in Gaborone and Erriyon Knighton clocked 19.49 for 200m in Baton Rouge.
World U20 champion Tebogo, competing on home soil at the Gaborone International Meet, became the first man from Botswana to break 10 seconds for 100m. The smooth-striding 18-year-old pulled away from an experienced international field to win comfortably in 9.96, taking 0.01 off Trayvon Bromell’s world U20 record set back in 2014.
South African duo Benjamin Richardson and Henrico Bruintjies were next to finish, clocking 10.08 and 10.16 respectively.
Olympic 200m silver medallist Christine Mboma also impressed in the sprints in Gaborone. The Namibian teenager became the first U20 athlete to break 22 seconds for 200m and 11 seconds for 100m on the same day.
After winning the 100m in a national senior record and African U20 record of 10.97, Mboma went on to win the 200m in a world-leading 21.87.
Within five hours later later over at the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge, Knighton produced one of the fastest times in history for 200m.
The 18-year-old US sprinter, who finished fourth at this distance at last year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, effortlessly pulled away from the rest of the field on the bend and already had a clear lead as he entered the straight. Olympic finalist Joseph Fahnbulleh did his best to stay with Knighton in the second half, but the teenager was too far ahead and crossed the line in 19.49 (1.4m/s) with Fahnbulleh taking second place in 19.92.
Knighton wasn’t the only young sprinter to impress in Baton Rouge, though.
One week after setting a Nigerian 200m record of 21.96, Louisiana State student Favour Ofili won the women’s 100m in a PB of 10.93. Not only does it make her the fastest African teenager in history, she also moved to fifth on the senior African all-time list.
Aleia Hobbs finished second to Ofili in 11.11, while world indoor silver medallist Mikiah Brisco won the other 100m heat in a wind-assisted 10.98.
Ofili’s namesake Favour Ashe, who turned 20 two days ago, won the men’s 100m in a wind-assisted 9.79, winning comfortably from Da’Marcus Fleming (10.02).
Elsewhere in Baton Rouge, world champion Grant Holloway won the 110m hurdles in 13.34, Jenna Prandini won the women’s 200m in 22.45, and Jonathan Jones took the men’s 400m in 44.79.