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Another win for Sunette

By Mark Etheridge

Sunette Viljoen speared her way to IAAF Diamond League javelin victory in Gateshead, England on Saturday night as Peter van der Westhuizen joined fellow South African athletes Johan Cronje and Juan van Deventer on the 3min 35sec mark in the 1500-metre event.

And that’s not all… Rene Kalmer made it a night to remember at the KBC Nacht meeting in Belgium, when she raced to a season’s best 4:07.57, also in the 1500m.

Viljoen has been training hard in South Africa after already having put one over world record holder Barbora Spotakova in Prague a month prior to Saturday’s Aviva Grand Prix at Gateshead.

And she did it again, opening with what was to be a winning throw of 64.32 metres. She went on to notch two other impressive efforts of 63.61 and 63.89. An out-of-sorts Spotakova could only managed 62.02m, good for third spot on the night.

Back to the 1500m boys though. On Thursday Johan Cronje ran 3:35.24 at the Lausanne leg of the Diamond League, another fine run after a long break due to injury.

On Friday it was the turn of Juan van Deventer to run a 3:35.15 for second spot in the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona.

And then in Gateshead on Saturday, Van der Westhuizen placed eighth in 3:35.97 behind Kenyan ace Asbel Kiprop (3:33:34).

The results show just how healthy our middle distance situation is right now and Johan Landsman’s 1500m record of 3:33.56 is certainly within sight this season.

Van Deventer, fastest of the three, was a happy man. “I’m happy with the way I felt during the race, especially as it was my first outdoor international 1500m of the season. I felt pretty strong throughout and the result is good considering the injuries I had and also the change of coach. It’s nice to qualify for Commonwealth Games as well. I’ll look to build on this now and am hoping to get into a faster race to really test myself and see exactly where I am.”

Van Deventer was among a handful of South African athletes at the Barcelona meeting. Molefe Molefe was fourth in the 1500m with a 3:40.36, Viljoen’s javelin rival Justine Robbeson took second spot in 59.62m, Ofentse Mogawane ended seventh in the 400m (46.53) and 400m hurdles runner Cornel Fredericks took second in 49.19. Wouter le Roux was fifth in the same race (50.44).

Apart from Kalmer in Belgium, fellow South African athlete Mapaseka Makhanya was just behind her with a time of 4:08.18 for a comfortable personal best.

Beijing Olympics 3000m steeplechase finalist Ruben Ramolefi was in action at Gateshead but is not looking himself recently, and after making the early pace, faded to finish eighth of 10 in 8:41.80, a time that he certainly won’t be happy with.


3 comments
Abel
Abel

Oooops Ruben,sies man!

EL
EL

Go TEAM SA Athletes in Europe!!

Deone
Deone

Hi, Mark, thank you for a well written report. I think the problem with the steeplechaser is focus, he must travel abroad to focus on his race and his nation watching him and stop charming ladies , especially young european loose girls and south african girls. He must get his priorities strait