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Viljoen bags bronze in Beijing but Maxwell drops out of marathon
- Updated: August 30, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
Sunette Viljoen wrapped up South Africa’s campaign at the IAAF World Championships with a bronze medal in the javelin in Beijing, China on Sunday.
Viljoen’s bronze came with her fourth attempt and pegged at 65.79 metres.
That saw her topped by just Germany’s Kathrina Molitor who won gold with her final throw of 67.89m and hometown heroine Huihui Lyu (66.13).
Viljoen’s best throw had propelled her into the lead but she was overtaken by the gold and silver medallists with their sixth and fifth attempts respectively.
After opening with a 60.18 effort, Viljoen’s bronze medal throw was her only effort over the 65m mark with her next best being 63.09 on her third attempt.
At the 2013 world championships in Moscow, Russia Viljoen had ended sixth in 63.58m and in Daegu, South Korea, 2011 it was again bronze in a then African record 68.38.
The 66.32 that she threw in Melbourne, Australia in March is the second furthest of the year, only bettered now by Molitor.
The bronze medal was South Africa’s second bronze at the champs after Anaso Jobodwana’s third place in the 200m after Wayde van Niekerk had won gold in the 400m.
That put South Africa 13th on the medals table as 32 countries from around the world won medals. First were Kenya with 16 (seven gold, six silver and three bronze).
At the last World Championships, Johan Cronje’s bronze in the 1500m was the rainbow nation’s only success.
In South Africa’s only other action on the final day, 2012 Olympian Tanith Maxwell failed to finish the women’s marathon.
After going through 5km in 19min 30sec, 10km in 38:41 and 15km in 58:16, the KwaZulu-Natal athlete, who has been based in Cape Town in recent months, failed to reach halfway.
The 39-year-old was one of 16 runners who failed to finish as Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba won a close fought race in 2:27:35 from Kenya’s 2:27.36 and Bahrain’s Eunice Kirwa (2:27.39).
Apart from the heat and pollution factors it appears Maxwell had other things to worry about. ‘My neck was so sore that I couldn’t dig deep and just stick it out. Can’t turn it left or right. Didn’t even make half way – complete disaster, am numb and down,’ she said in an email back home.
But Maxwell is a fighter and will no doubt dig deep as she attempts make her second Olympic Games on the trot.
Picture of Viljoen in bronze medal action, courtesy of Getty Images