Sunette steals show | SASCOC - SASCOC

Sunette steals show

By Mark Etheridge

Beijing Olympic silver medallist Khotso Mokoena continued his fine long-jump form in Lausanne Tuesday night – but over in Belgrade, fellow South African Sunette Viljoen was making a point of her own.

Twenty-two year-old Viljoen, Commonwealth javelin champion and already having qualified for next month’s World Track and Field Championships in Berlin, threw a stunning new African and SA javelin record of 65.43m on the opening day of the 25th World Student Games in Croatia. She now goes directly through to Thursday’s final.

The Potchefstroom based athlete not only shattered Justine Robbeson’s national mark of 63.49m by almost two metres. but it rockets her from 13th to fourth place in the 2009 world list.┬áHer previous best was 62.15m set in Potchefstroom in January.

Back in Switzerland, triple Olympic sprint medallist Usain Bolt dominated the meeting with a consummate win in his first 200-metre dash of the year. He cruised home in 19.59sec in a race where he once again had to contend with a sodden track. At the same meeting last year. Bolt ran a 19.63sec.

Fellow American Tyson Gay has already run a 19.58 in the US a month ago and it all makes for a great Track and Field Championships.

Mokoena also felt the effects of the rain and the classy field of long-jumpers pussy-footed around the 8m mark. Mokoena, 24, who set an African record of 8.50m in Madrid at the weekend, won with a 8.05m effort.

Among his victims were Dwight Phillips, the world number one this year and Aussie Fabrice Lappiere of Australia, who beat him in Madrid.

Phillips finished two centimetres adrift while Lappiere took third with exactly 8m. It was Mokoena’s fifth win on the international circuit this year and he pocked a healthy first prize of US$8,000.

Of the other South Africans in action former Olympic silver medallist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi took second in the 800m with a 1min 44.97 effort, his second quickest of the year. The field went through the bell in a brisk 50.48sec and Sudan’s Ismail Ahmed Ismail powered to the win in 1:44.80.

Bloemfontein’s Johan Cronje had another impressive race to finish second (3:37:50) in the 1,500m behind Algerian Anta Zerguelaine (3:37.15).

Cronje was seventh after the first lap and moved up to fourth at the bell but was unable to hold off a strong finishing Zerguelaine.

Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion LJ van Zyl continued his good form with third in 48.94, his third consecutive sub-49sec finish in Europe this year.

It was a field featuring most of the world’s best hurdlers, with the in-form Jamaican Isa Phillips winning in convincing fashion (48.18) from American Kerron Clemmont (his season’s best of 48.51).

Van Zyl was never really in contention for a win, being too far back when they hit the straight but coach Nico van Heerden was happy with his charge’s night.┬á┬á”Given the conditions I’m happy with anything under 49sec. I think we can expect a much better performance in Rome on Friday and Athens on Monday.”

Also in Lausanne last night World Championships 200m qualifier, Tshegofatso Meshoe, took sixth (20.88sec) in the 200m B race