Viljoen secures a place in the Olympic team

2012-04-14 19:46

South African javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen has joined hurdler LJ van Zyl as the only track and field athletes to have secured their places in the team to the Olympics.

This is after Viljoen, a bronze medallist at the IAAF World Champions, posted a 61.15m heave, which missed by a narrow margin the Olympics A-standard of 61m, to be crowned the national champion at the Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships on Saturday.

Like Van Zyl, Viljoen has met the stringent requirement of qualifying at two events as both had already attained their international qualifying marks at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last year.

Van Zyl, who also won bronze in Daegu, qualified during the Yellow Pages Inter-clubs event in Pretoria last week, winning the 400m hurdles in 49.42 to beat the A-standard time of 49.50.

Said Viljoen of Athletics Central North West: “At least the pressure is off and I can now focus on my training for the Olympics. My preparations after Daegu has been going very well and I am happy with what I achieved today.”

Next, Viljoen said she would venture on to the European circuit in the IAAF Diamond meeting in Doha (Qatar), Ostrava (Czech Republic) and Rome (Italy).

She said that in the process she would also make an attempt to extend her personal best of 68.38m to 70m, which could assure her of a podium in London.

The world’s leading throw is over 71m, by Barbara Spotakova of Czech Republic.

“I know her very well; we are the best of friends off the track. I want to make it step by step, qualify for the final in London and take it from there. With the right physical and mental condition, anything can happen on the day.”

The highlight of the opening day yesterday was Stephen Mokoka’s feat in becoming the first to notch up the Olympic qualifying mark in the 10 000m final.

Mokoka won in 27:40.73, a time that became the third fastest in the SA all-time list.

However, he must run another qualifying time to satisfy the selection criterion.

Simon Magakwe also endeared himself to the media and the crowd at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University by snaring the 100m in 10:12 for his fourth straight SA title.

Read more about the Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships in City Press on Sunday

Follow Mothowagae on twitter @DanieMothowagae

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