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Viljoen’s silver is the best SA result in Norway

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By Mark Etheridge

Barring Sunette Viljoen in the javelin, it wasn’t the greatest day of the office for SA track and field athletes at Thursday night’s Bislett Games Diamond League events in Oslo, Norway.
Viljoen had to settle for silver with a 64.36-metre best of the night as it took a national record of 64.56m from Israel’s Marhayta Dorozhon to earn gold.
The Commonwealth Games silver medallist last year, Viljoen had opened with a 58.02 and her best throw came with her next attempt. Her next best was 63.66 and she ended off with a 58.03. She also left the meeting with the satisfaction of a victory over Czech javelin legend Barbora Spotakova who was third with a 64.10.
Viljoen also still leads the world rankings at this early stage of the season after her 66.62 throw in Melbourne, Australia three months ago.
Staying with the field events and neither Khotso Mokoena nor Zarck Visser will be too happy after failing to break eight metres in the long jump.
They went into the meeting with season’s best of 8.11 and 8.18m respectively but the Commonwealth Games triple jump gold medallist left with 7.90 and the Glasgow long long jump silver medallist with 7.85 leaps on the night, giving them fifth and sixth place respectively. Gold went to Olympic champion Greg Rutherford with an 8.25m effort in the final of three jumps for him.
Trackside and Olympic 200m finalist three years ago, Anaso Jobodwana was certainly not happy after a 20.39sec second spot in the 200m. With his recent 20.04 national record he was comfortably the quickest in the line-up.
Despite the slowest reaction time to the gun of the eight starters, he was quickly into his stride and smoothly around the bend but France’s Christophe Lemaitre left the US-based sprinter in his wake in the final stages to clock his season’s best of 20.21 as Jobodwana reflected on a 20.39.
‘Worst race of the season, I’ll keep learning and I’ll get it right. Thanks so much to those that believe in me. Your support is awesome . Back to the classroom,’  were his initial comments.
The final SA competitor of the evening was Johan Cronje in the men’s Dream Mile but after his 10th spot where he had nothing left in the tank over the final stages and ended with a 3:58:50, the former 1500m world championships silver medallist could be forgiving for thinking only of nightmares. Kenyan Asbel Kiprop won in 3:51:45 from countryman Silas Kiplagat (3:51.72).
In his defence, Cronje has certainly not been feeling his best and alluded to the same feeling as when he was laid low by a virus two years ago and had to return home to recuperate.
‘I’ll go back home now and cancel all competitions until I feel myself again. Tonight’s race must have been my worst experience in 15 years. Feel like such a failure.’
Cronje is made of sterner stuff though and there’s no doubting he’ll be back on track sooner rather than later.


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