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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Johnson looks good while Pillay sizzles as athletes celebrate first CGA Track & Field Meet of 2021

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

Lythe Pillay is the talk of the athletics town after opening his 2021 season with a sensational run at Central Gauteng Athletics’ first track and field meet of the year yesterday. Just days before he celebrates a milestone birthday (he turns 18 on Thursday) the King Edwards School Deputy Head-boy turned the blue track of the Boksburg Stadium a fiery red when he scorched round in 45:74. This 400m clocking saw the youngster fall agonisingly short of the 44:90 required to qualify for the Olympic Games.

But the Matric pupil looks good for that 44:90 with every bit the professionalism of a seasoned veteran. His 45-minute warmup consisting of a light jog, thorough stretching, foam rolling and plyometrics displayed a maturity which belies his years. Yesterday’s performance would have been just what his coach would have wanted to see. Lindi du Plessis has always maintained that this year’s focus is firmly on the World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya with the Olympics as a bonus. “Baby steps, we still need to look after him for the future. But he is a very mature athlete who is capable of anything,” she told #TheTopRunner

Johnson leaps into action at the Cape Town Leg of the ASA Grand Prix Series in Cape Town in 2016. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

Also hoping to book his spot in Tokyo in July is long jumper and sprinter Cheswill Johnson. In his favoured event Johnson landed in the pit at 8.02m while he cantered to a 10.89 victory in a race where he could have gone much faster. “The 100m was a bit rough because I didn’t have a good start and when I got close to the line I saw the clock wasn’t on so I kinda jogged through. I didn’t run my best but a win is fine for me any day,” he explained.

But what may have been missing in the 100m was there in the long jump where his rhythm suggested an athlete in good form. Johnson says he has been training hard throughout the lockdown and is targeting this event to get him a seat on the plane to Japan. “This season looks like it’s going to be a really good season. Right now the conditions in SA are perfect and everything is going well. I saw today that my hard work literally paid off for the off-season,” he said. Johnson must jump 8.22m or more in order to qualify for The Games.

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