Dashing Pillay ecstatic about Olympic dream
LYTHE Pillay is looking forward to the possibility of appearing in the Tokyo Olympics after helping the South African men’s 4x400m team qualify for the showpiece.
Pillay, together with national champion Zakithi Nene, Oscar Mavundla and Ranti Dikgale finished second in their heat at the World Relays Championship in Silesia, Poland, two weeks ago in a time of (3:03.79) which qualified them for the Olympics.
The South African men’s team attained Olympic qualification without the presence of Wayde van Niekerk who is undergoing intensive training to retain the gold medal that he won in the 2016 Olympics.
“Having a high possibility of going to the Olympics is jaw-dropping. It’s always been my dream to go to the Olympics. If I can uphold my performances and get into the team, it will be a dream come true. I am really thankful to God for bringing me this far. I thought it would only happen once I hit my 20s but now it’s happening while I’m still in high school and I didn’t expect it. I’m trying to not put pressure on myself but embrace it and have fun,” Pillay 18, told Post.
Pillay also serves as deputy head boy at the King Edward VII School in Gauteng. He has a hectic schedule which combines balancing his academics with leadership duties and athletics.
“I’m assigned to be head mentor of the Grade 8 hostel. It is challenging with training and I normally get back at 6.30 or 7pm. After that I help the Grade 8s with homework and monitor them. After they go to bed at 8.30 or 9pm, I get back and do my homework and study. My teachers have gone the extra mile to help me to catch up with studies,” said Pillay who hails from Benoni in the East Rand.
Renowned for an extremely hard work ethic, Pillay’s attitude has helped him to achieve continuous improvement in athletics. Aged 15, he clocked 400m in 46.76 seconds, at 16 his time improved to 46.26 and in March this year, he improved to 45.53 seconds.
After excellent performances locally, he got the opportunity to compete at the African Under-18 400m event in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 2019 where he won with a time of 46.26, which laid the platform for his selection to the World Athletics Relays 4x400m squad.
Pillay believes that the mental aspect of sport is important but something that is often overlooked.
“For me the hardest thing was believing that I could reach a high level. I was always passionate about running but had some self-doubts. It comes down to who wants it the most and who trains the hardest,” he said.