Tlotliso Gift Leotlela has reckon how important winning the men’s 4x100m gold at the World Athletics Relays in Silesia, Poland means to South Africa ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Anchored by one of the quickest sprinters of today, Akani Simbine spearheaded Team SA to power pass Brazil by one hundredth of a second to cross the line at 38.71 seconds.
Running the back straight, Tlotliso Gift Leotlela gave South Africa the needed composure before releasing Munyai in the third leg, but the South Africans where lucky to have gotten Akani Simbine in their fold.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games men’s 100m gold medallist proved why he needs to be watched going into the Summer Olympics having put on a stunning show in the home stretch to snatch victory from Brazil’s Paulo Andre Camilo de Oliveira as Ghana’s Joseph Paul Amoah came third.
But, Brazil were later disqualified along with third-placed Ghana, which meant Italy moved up into second and Japan third.
Speaking in the aftermath of the race, the Phuthaditjhab born Tlotliso Leotlela explained the difficulty they went though before realizing their dream in the final analysis.
“Last time we didn’t even make the final, so this victory means a lot to us.
“Our trip from South Africa was difficult – it took more than 24 hours, we were tired after arriving late at night and the covid tests, but we recovered well.
“It’s difficult running in these conditions, we are not used to them, so we had to adapt quickly, just get out there, run under 40 seconds and get out of here.
“This competition is very important for us as preparation for the Olympics. It’s a way to test yourself on the big stage.
“We will focus on our individual events now, but we also have relay camps planned to get ready for Tokyo.”