Sunette only seventh | SASCOC - SASCOC

Sunette only seventh

By Mark Etheridge

African and Commonwealth javelin champion Sunette Viljoen slumped to seventh spot in last night’s IAAF Diamond League athletics action in Zurich, Switzerland.

It was the last time that the world’s leading javeliners were in action for Diamond League points, with no women’s javelin scheduled for the League’s final meeting in Brussels, Belgium next week.

Viljoen would not have been a happy thrower last night, failing to even crack the 60-metre barrier. With a best of 66.38m in Prague this season, she would have expected to go past 60m in her sleep.

But her best effort was the 59.95 she produced with her second effort, having opened with a 58.47. In fact her fourth throw of 59.27 was the only throw that exceeded the 59m mark. She said before the meeting that she was rather nervous and this could have been her downfall.

As a result she dropped from third to fourth spot in the Diamond League race, on an evening that saw German Christina Obergfoll overtaking her and winning overall with a 67.31m effort.

That was also good enough to beat world record holder and Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova into second spot, the Czech Republic ace’s best on the night being a 65.34 with her final throw. However Spotakova still won the Diamond League race, ahead of American Kara Patterson, who like Viljoen, faded on the night to end ninth and last with a 59.50m throw.

Spotakova ended the season with 20 points, Patterson got 10, Obergfoll eight and Viljoen seven.

Mohamed Ally
Mohamed Ally

Performing regularly at high pressure meets can only be good for Sunnette for the future. She still has a good few years competing at that level and has the potential to perform better than her 2006 Gold at the Commonwelath by bring home an Olympic or World Championships medal in future. It takes a lot more than just going out there and chucking that Javelin - athletes must contend with alot en-route to a top performance. Sometimes it all comes together other times you struggle. Even the mighty Olympic Champion and World record holder Barbara Spotakova has struggled in her time and managed to find form eventually. It's in finding the right combination that one finds success so lets get behind her and continue to support her. Stop looking at that performance as a total failure. Perservere Sunnette - the hopes of a nation lie at your feet. You are a role model for the likes of Tazmin Brits and many future South Africa throwers to come in the future - let's hope that ASA as well as the Gideon Sam led SASCOC recognise this and continue to support athletes in preparation for 2016 and 2020. South Africa has the potential to emulate the likes of China and Cuba who have recently emerged as a force in World Sport.