Pillay wins gold at World Junior Champs

Pillay cut 0.25 off the personal best he set in Boksburg last year, securing victory in 45.28 seconds.

FILE: Lythe Pillay. Picture: Twitter/@AthleticsSA_

Sprint sensation Lythe Pillay won gold in the men's 400m final at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia.

Pillay cut 0.25 off the personal best he set in Boksburg last year, securing victory in 45.28 seconds.

While Pillay was the only SA athlete to step on the podium on Day four of the global junior showpiece, the national team narrowly missed out on a few medals, producing strong challenges in a variety of events.

After grabbing the bronze medal in the 100m sprint earlier in the week, Benjamin Richardson finished fourth in the men's 200m final in 20.55, in a fast race won by Israel's Blessing Afrifah in 19.96, narrowly beating pre-race favourite Letsile Tebogo of Botswana.

Anje Nel also took fourth place in the women's 400m hurdles final in a personal best of 57.47, with American athlete Akala Garrett winning gold in 56.16. Another sprinter, youth athlete Precious Molepo, ended eighth in the women's 400m final in 53.49.

Earlier on the track, sprinter Viwe Jingqi won her 200m semi-final in 23.12, booking her place in the final to be held on Friday evening (South African time). Middle-distance runner Danielle Verster took fourth position in her 1,500m heat in 4:21.25, progressing to the final to be held on Saturday - the last day of the competition.

In the men's 4x100m relay, the SA team - Emel Keyser, Letlhogonolo Moleyane, Bradley Oliphant and Mukhethwa Tshifura - won their heat in 39.50, and they will turn out again in the final.

After four days of competition in Cali, the SA team has earned four medals - two golds and two bronze.