Pillay gears up for Olympics

Athletics South Africa (ASA) announced yesterday that former African 100m and 200m champion Geraldine Pillay has relocated back home to South Africa to prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Athletics South Africa (ASA) announced yesterday that former African 100m and 200m champion Geraldine Pillay has relocated back home to South Africa to prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

For most of last year she was based in Jamaica training under the watchful eye of renowned sprint coach Stephen Francis. In his stable Pillay trained alongside Jamaica's elite sprinters like Sherone Simpson and world 100m record holder Asafa Powell.

"My first-hand experience training among the world's best in the business gave me some very valuable exposure. I have developed a framework that will enable me to plan for what I expect to be the best season of my career," says Pillay.

Pillay is now part of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and Sascoc's National Academy Residential Programme that is run at the High Performance Centre of the University of Pretoria.

Pillay also enjoys the essential support system offered through the Athletics South Africa (ASA) Elite Athletes Training Camp Programme.

Every six weeks ASA's elite athletes assemble at the High Performance Centre (HPC) in Tshwane.

During the week-long camp, they get scientific assessment to measure their levels of fitness and to determine any interventions that may be necessary to keep the athletes at their peak.

"This opportunity to stay and train at the HPC is the single most important factor that made me come back home. When I combine the scientific expertise at HPC with the knowledge gained training in Jamaica, I am confident that I have the best ingredients to break new grounds," Pillay explained.

With career bests of 11,07 seconds for the 100 and 22,78 for the 200, Pillay has the potential to rewrite the South African records in the two events. Evette de Klerk holds the 100m record at 11,06. Pillay has far more ground to cover if she is to get anywhere near De Klerk's 200m mark of 22,06.

"My goal is to run between 11,1 and 11,2 seconds regularly during the Yellow Pages Series and the national championships. That will put me in good stead for later in the year when I hope to run faster at the Beijing Olympics." - Sapa

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