Athletics

Viljoen qualifies for Olympics

2012-04-14 12:26
Sunette Viljoen (Gallo Images)

Port Elizabeth - South African javelin record holder Sunette Viljoen on Saturday became the second SA athlete to qualify for the London Olympic Games.

She reached the Olympic qualifying distance of 61m by the narrowest of margins with a heave of 61.15m at the SA Senior Championships here.

Viljoen now joins world 400m bronze medallist LJ van Zyl, who booked his place at an inter-club meeting a fortnight ago.

She got over the qualifying distance with her second last throw with Gerlize de Klerk finishing second with a heave of 52.83m. Gezelle Bernard took the bronze medal with a distance of 49.89m.

"I think all the pressure is off you, now you can just relax and focus on your training leading into London," said Viljoen.

"I have a few Diamond League meetings coming up which I am looking forward to so much. My first meeting is on May 11 in Doha."

Viljoen has been struggling with a niggling hip injury in the build-up to the SA championships but it did not bother her much on Saturday.

"It is not 100 percent fine yet, it is still a little bit sore but today it held up which I am very happy about but 85 percent of it is healed now.

"Now it is just to nurse it and take good care of it. Luckily there is no pressure of competing before I am totally healed now," she said.

Viljoen reached the qualifying distance for the first time at last year's World Championships in Daegu, South Korea where she improved her SA record with a heave of 68.38m.

"My whole preparations leading up to this season after Daegu has been really good. My conditioning cycle, my strength cycle, my technique cycle I am very happy about," said Viljoen.

"My training is going according to plan while London is a whole new ball game. It is positive to know you have won the bronze but that is in the past," she said.

"I really want to win an Olympic medal because it is going to be my third Olympic Games... those are the goals I set out for myself this season."

VIljoen, however, said her first goal was to reach the final and she would approach it step-by-step.

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