Botswana's world under-20 100m record holder Letsile Tebogo is a star attraction in Cali ©Getty Images

Botswana's Letsile Tebogo, who set a world 100 metres under-20 record of 9.94sec earlier this month, will defend his title at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships that start tomorrow in Colombian city Cali.

Tebogo, 19, who improved his own mark of 9.96 in reaching the semi-finals at the senior World Athletics Championships in Eugene, is one of the headliners in Cali.

"If breaking the world record again comes in [my] mind during the days, I’ll have to do it," Tebogo said.

"The race was really amazing.

"Competing against the big names was a bit tough but I held my head up.

"Being in the semi-final was a big achievement."

Tebogo added that he had had advice from Fred Kerley, the American Tokyo 2020 silver medallist who headed a home sweep in the men’s 100m in Eugene.

"What Kerley told me was: 'Don’t worry, you still have a long way to go. Keep pushing until you reach your limits.'"

Tebogo, who will compete in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the Pascual Guerrero Olympic Stadium, told World Athletics' website he is likely to return to Eugene to enrol at the University of Oregon in the future, and added that is keen to spearhead the rise of African sprinting in the years ahead.

"I really like to change how Africa is seen - from [success at] the long distances to the short sprints," he said.

South Africa's Mine de Klerk will defend her shot put title at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships ©Getty Images
South Africa's Mine de Klerk will defend her shot put title at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships ©Getty Images

Letsile, who won his men's world under-20 title last year in Nairobi, is among 1,500 athletes from more than 140 nations due to be competing at an event that runs until August 6.

"This will be a championships where fresh talent will be unearthed," said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe at the pre-event press conference in Cali.

"This is a huge moment for all of us.

"These championships have always been a cradle for talent.

"If you go back to 2002, it was the opportunity for Usain Bolt to thrash into the global landscape and we were here in 2015 for the World U18 Championships when we had two young athletes who debuted on the international stage - Sydney McLaughlin and Mondo Duplantis - and I don’t really need to lay out their credentials given what they both achieved in Oregon."

Another African hoping to provide a fresh source of athletics success is Mine de Klerk.

The South African 19-year-old is the reigning world under-20 women's shot put champion and discus silver medallist, and will be hoping for a repeat showing when she attempts the same double in Cali.

De Klerk moved to the University of Oregon in January and has since improved her discus best to 54.22 metres, while she also reached the National Collegiate Athletics Association shot put final in June.

There could also be outstanding results in the men’s long jump, where France's Erwan Konate and Italy’s Mattia Furlani are two of the standout talents.

Konate is the defending champion, having jumped 8.12m to win last year in Nairobi.

Furlani, 17, leapt 8.04m to win the European under-18 title in Jerusalem earlier this month and cleared 2.15m to add high jump gold.

Furlani will have a busy week if all goes to plan, with the long jump taking place tomorrow and Tuesday (August 2) and the high jump on Wednesday (August 3) and Friday (August 5).

Ramiro Varela, President of the Local Organising Committee, commented: "Today we are in front of the world.

"In six days in the stadium, the public will get to see so much emotion, so much work, from these athletes.

"I feel so happy to have you with us here in Cali."