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Letsile Tebogo runs record time but loses at the line in U20 200m final

Blessing Afrifah of Israel upsets Tebogo in a photo finish to deny him the win in the men's 200m at the U20 World Championship

Letsile Tebogo upset Photo by: @ohelshem1934/Instagram

The story of the U20 World Championships, Letsile Tebogo of Botswana, was upset in the men’s 200m final in the closest of margins by Israel’s Blessing Afrifah.┬áBoth athletes clocked a U20 championship record of 19.96, but Afrifah had the upper hand dipping Tebogo at the line in a stunning finish.

Letsile Tebogo of Botswana coasted to victory in the U20 men’s 100m in a record time of 9.91 seconds.

Tebogo drew attention to himself after running the U20 world record in the 100m final earlier in the week. The internet sketched comparisons to Usain Bolt in Beijing 2008, when Tebogo coasted to victory in the 100m in a record time of 9.91 seconds, pointing at the crowd.

In the 200m final, the young Botswanan’s hopes of the U20 sprint double were dashed by Afrifah.

The 18-year-old Afrifah, who was born in Israel to West African parents, stayed close behind Tebogo coming round the bend and put on a late surge to claim the title by six-one-thousandths of a second in a crazy photo finish.

“I’m so emotional. I’m out of words,” Afrifah told World Athletics reporters. “For a second, I thought I was second. My first thought was, I’m happy to be second to Tebogo.”

“This has been my dream,” said Afrifah.

Tebogo, 19, was given the same time as Afrifah, which bettered the championship record he ran in the 200m heats and was humble when asked about his run. “I’m more than happy with my run after a busy week of competition,” Tebogo said to World Athletics reporters. “I’m grateful for my performance, and not everybody can run these fast times, four days in a row.”

Team Canada is yet to medal at this year’s U20 championships. Tyler Floyd, a Canadian 400m sprinter who trains in Seattle, Wash., was fourth in the men’s 400m in a personal best time of 46.54 seconds after a runner ahead of him was disqualified.

The 2022 U20 World Championships from Cali, Colombia, will wrap up on Saturday, Aug. 6.