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Hardus, Sunette shine in Split

By Mark Etheridge

It was left to our javeliners to spearhead the South African contribution at the IAAF/VTB Bank Continental Cup track and field competition in Split, Croatia at the weekend.

Commonwealth champion Sunette Viljoen got things underway with her 62.21 metre effort on Saturday when she was good for second spot behind Russian Maria Abakumova’s 68.14 championship record.

Viljoen was the star of the South Africans in action for the African team on Saturday and both her and fellow Commonwealth champion Elizna Naude (seventh in the discus) both commented on the quickness of the throwing circle. “I felt the wind was bad over my left shoulder,” said Naude. “And that circle was extremely fast, slippery I’d say and no-one really did their best. Everybody struggled with the circle but otherwise I enjoyed and I must say that Split is awesome.”

Sunday’s heroics were left up to Viljoen’s fellow javeliner Hardus Pienaar. He came up with his best effort in four years to emulate Viljoen’s silver achievement.

Indeed his 83.17m throw, produced with his final throw, was the first time he’d beaten the 80m barrier in two years. He also had throws of 76.93 and 78.00m. His personal best is the 84.50m he threw in Hyderabad seven years ago.

Predicatably yesterday’s winner was Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen, the Olympic and world champion landing at 89.26m.

The other South Africans in action didn’t fare as well. Sprinter Estie Wittstock took seventh in the 200 (24.05sec) behind Russia’s Aleksandra Fedoriva’s 22.86 and in the men’s discus Victor Hogan’s only successful effort of 54.86 saw him bringing up the field as Germany’s Robert Harting (66.85m) took the honours.

The Africa team ended third in the continental competition with 292 points. Europe, nine points down to the Americas after Saturday’s first day of competition, went on to win with 429 points to 419.5 and Asia-Pacific brought up the rear with 286.5.

Home town girl Blanka Visic provided one of the highlights of the competition with a season-best equalling 2.05m in the high jump.


5 comments
Road Mogul
Road Mogul

Well Done Hardus!!! Thats all i can say. Im out of words!!!!!

disappointed
disappointed

Judging by todays newspaper reports some of the currently selected Common Wealth Team members did not fair that great either.

Track Enthusiast
Track Enthusiast

Incidently Hardus is joint 2nd on the Commonwealth (I don't know where such rankings exist so I looked at the IAAF website) rankings with the top ranked athletes performance having registered in February this year. But the amazing thing is that the number 1 and number 2 in the Commonwealth competed with him at the Continental Cup and he beat them both. Go check the rankings of you don't believe me. Jarrod Bannister threw 79.99 and Stuart Farquar threw 78.29m at the Champs in Split. But their rankings indicate their best at 85.35 and 83.17. Once again SASCOC and ASA the proof is in the pudding. I cannot wait to see you explain your way out of this one! And all your backers quoted in the articles where they say they are tired of passengers and that they commend you on your bold step. Now explain! Hardus thank you for opening this can of worms. Are we saying that all the athletes in the top 10 in the commonwealth are not in better shape than their opponents? Are we saying that we are prepared to leave behind athletes with a realistic chance of medalling to teach them a lesson. What is the objective Mr. Strict School Prncipal who does not respect the council of respected coaches and people who know the sport? SASCOC were presented a plan by a young Cape Town based docotor at their indaba in Durban a few years ago. I dont think they heard a word presented to them. They have their plan and they must account for it when it fails.

Junior
Junior

Well done Hardus!! I saw Hardus throw when he was still injured and forced by Richard Stander to throw in the simple winter meets or else not been selected. He took 1 attemp, got a 74m, and did not throw further in the competition for fear of aggravating the injury. Hardus got silver in Kenia, he might have got Gold if he wasn't forced to throw while in rehab. Now he has shown what he can deliver when fit. We are happy with you Hardus and at the same time sad that through burocrasy you will not be able to fight for gold in Delhi !

Track Enthusiast
Track Enthusiast

Sorry Hardus - you are a passenger!...No Commonwealth for you even though this effort pushes you up the rankings. SASCOC and ASA don't think that you deserve to go because you are not a medal potential...lol Let's hear the explaination for this one...We are raising the bar???? What bar? The bar has been raised several times in one season. You will now probably be told that you are unfortunately late in your effort to qualify. By the way well done Hardus - you are an example of what a true South African athlete can deliver and you follow in the traditional footsteps of former World Champion Marius Corbett and 2006 Commonwealth Champion Robert Oosthuizen amongst others. We are proud of you and look forward to you being consistent in the 80's before launching that javelin at the 90m mark in 2012. That's if they think you are good enough.