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Pillay to give Olympics his best

He clocked the third fastest lap in the final (44.42) to help SA to a silver medal at the World Relays Championships in Bahamas.

World Relays 4x400m silver medallist and national 400m champion Lythe Pillay will try to replicate his ASA senior championships performance where he clocked a personal milestone of 44.31 for his first national senior title, when he runs at the Olympic Games in July.

Pillay was announced among the first group of athletes selected to represent the country at Paris 2024 by SASCOC on May 15.

This will be the Brentwood Park resident’s second Olympics after being part of the men’s 4 x 400m relay team in Tokyo 2020.

Lythe Pillay.

The 21-year-old is in the best form of his life but he knows to stand a chance to podium in Paris, individually or as part of the relay team, consistency is key.

“I will give it my best. My build-up from now until the Olympics is to put myself and body into the best position to replicate my performance from the nationals,” he said.

“I also want to be consistent and clock sub-45s in the heat to put myself in the best position to make the final.”

Lythe Pillay with Bayapo Ndori of Botswana. Photo: Supplied

World Relays

After winning the national title, he helped the SA men’s 4x400m to a silver at the world relays champs in Bahamas on May 6 with a sensational final lap.

SA was out of the podium positions when Pillay received the baton from Antonie Nortje for the final lap. But he stormed through from fifth to finish second behind gold medallists Botswana, in 03:00:75, chasing down Belgium, Japan and Italy on the last lap.

He also clocked the third fastest lap of 44.42 in the final to win SA’s first world relays medal since the men’s 4x200m silver in Yokohama in 2019.

Botswana’s Bayapo Ndori crosses the line first while Lythe Pillay is in second place at the world relays. Photo: Supplied

“My team put me within a striking distance. That was the important thing. I knew my strengths, especially having run the previous day in the heats. I knew where my body was and paced myself evenly to put us back into a medal position,” said Pillay.

“I didn’t have the difficult job in the race. Everyone had to put me in that position. Once I was in that position, I didn’t do anything magical. I just did what I normally do. The team did the hard work and I had to finish it.”


Pillay’s 44.13 from the nationals is the fifth fastest time in the world in the 400m. This has put him in the conversation for the medal contenders in Paris.

Lythe Pillay (right) helped the SA men’s 4x400m qualify for the Paris Olympics. Photo: Supplied

“It’s changed mine and my coach’s perception and everyone’s expectations. We knew we had to run a sub-45 to win or contend for a podium position. We didn’t expect to break it by that big a margin.”

“The aim is to be able to run that time or close to it consistently rather than running it once and falling back. The aim and approach have shifted. With a time like that, the Olympics final is on the cards granted I can run the right times in the rounds and be consistent,” he said.

The Arbor Primary Alumnus had only dipped under 45 seconds once. He said he looks at that PB as an improvement to his performance and would like to focus on the process.

Lythe Pillay (middle) with the SA men’s 4x400m relay team.

“Going into the nationals, I didn’t expect that time at all. My body was in a sub-45 shape but I surprised myself.”

Pillay will participate in two Diamond League meetings (Marrakesh and Oslo) and will then focus on his Olympics preparations from June until mid-July before departing for Paris.

Also Read: Pillay wins gold in one-lap dash at U20 World Championships

Also Read: Pillay looks forward to Olympics


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