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Three Diamond League podium places for SA athletes in Sweden

Sunette Viljoen of South Africa competes to place second in the women's javelin throw event at the IAAF Athletics Diamond League meeting in the Stockholm Olympic Stadium, Sweden July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency   

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By Mark Etheridge

Birthday boy and girl Anaso Jobodwana and Wenda Nel were amongst several solid performances by the South African contingent at Thursday’s DN Galan Diamond League athletics meeting in Stockholm, Sweden.
Three of the South Africans stepped up to the podium on a chilly Scandinavian evening, not conducive to great results and with the World Championships looming large in China, next month.
Sunette Viljoen’s second throw of 64.03 metres in the javelin, saw her win silver behind Czech legend Barbora Spotakova (65.66m).And Jobodwana, former SA record holder with a 20.04sec best in the 200m, looked confident as he came out of a well-run bend but lost ground as Panamian powerhouse Alonso Edward ran 20.04 to take gold.
The third podium placement went to 2008 Olympic silver medallist Khotso Mokoena with a 7.87m for bronze as reigning Olympic champion Greg Rutherford won in 8.34 from American Marquis Dendy (8.09). They were the only two to go further than 8m.
Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Zarck Visser, still coming back after an ankle injury, was seventh on Thursday with a 7.71m effort. ‘Conditions weren’t great and the track felt so slow but I guess that’s all part of the game. The ankle is OK, still a little bit of pain but I’m managing it now,’ he told Road to Rio 2016.
Back to the track and Nel looks more and more comfortable in the top echelons of 400m hurdles racing. She took fifth in 55.26 in the very first event of the season. The race was run on a sodden track after afternoon downpours and Nel was some way off the times she’s been running lately.
World champion Zuzan Hejnova of Czech Republic, won in 54.37, incidentally the same time as Nel’s personal best run in Beijing, China earlier this year.
Final SA competitor, in the final event of the evening, was Carina Horn. The joint SA 100m record holder was up against a quality field, spearheaded by world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won in 10.93.
Horn had a good start and despite her 11.24 fifth spot being some way off her 11.06 best, conditions were certainly not favourable to fast times. ‘Yes, it was cold and the warm-up wasn’t really enjoyable so it was a bit confusing and another stress level but still an amazing experience, she told Road to Rio 2016.


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