Athletics

Viljoen aims for continuity

2012-03-23 19:10
Sunette Viljoen (File)

Johannesburg - Sunette Viljoen is not resting on her laurels this season as she looks to take a big step towards her third Olympic Games at the Yellow Pages Series meeting in Potchefstroom on Saturday.

"Every time I compete this season, in South Africa and overseas, I want to go over the qualifying mark," Viljoen said on Friday.

"I trained very hard in the off season and I'm happy with where I am at the moment.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how the season plays out."

Viljoen, the African record holder in the women's javelin throw, heaved 61.41 metres at a Central North West provincial meeting last week, improving the Olympic qualifying mark by 41 centimetres.

That effort, however, would not count, according to Athletics SA (ASA) president James Evans, who cleared up the federation's qualifying criteria.

"All athletes must set the qualifying standard twice – once overseas and once internationally," Evans said.

"They must, however, set the standard once after March 19.

"Sunette already qualified once with her performance at the IAAF World Championships last year, and she can provisionally qualify for the Games in Potchefstroom tomorrow.

"All she'll need to do then is take part at the national championships in Port Elizabeth next month to book her place in the team."

Viljoen squares up against a hefty foreign contingent in her event this weekend, and she believed the three Czech athletes in the field – former world junior champion Jarmila Klimesova, Irena Sediva and Eliska Klucinova -- would give her some healthy competition on home soil.

"I want to throw a little further than I did last week, and I'll be happy with anything over 63 m," Viljoen said.

"I've thrown against these Czech girls before, and they're lovely people, so it should be a good competition.

"It's always nice to compete in front of my home crowd home, in Potchefstroom, and I'm really looking forward to it."

With all roads leading to London this year, Viljoen hoped to break her Olympic hoodoo after a superb 2011 season, when she set a new continental record with a 68.38m effort to clinch the bronze medal at the global championships in Daegu, South Korea.

"This will be my third Olympics and I've never reached the final," she said.

"After a great year last year, I'm hoping to reach the final in London, and anything can happen after that.

"My ultimate goal is to win an Olympic medal, so I'm going to put my whole heart into this and give it everything I have, and hope that everything goes right on the day."

The second of three Yellow Pages Series meetings will be jam-packed with a host of South Africa's leading athletes this weekend.

Former world 800 m champions Caster Semenya and Mbulaeni Mulaudzi make their season debuts over two laps in Potchefstroom.

One-lap hurdles specialist LJ van Zyl ditches the barriers for his 2012 debut, lining up in the men's flat 400 m sprint.

Read more on:    sunette viljoen  |  athletics
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