Rome - Commonwealth champion Sunette Viljoen held her own against a stellar field to take second place with a best heave of 63.04m in the women’s javelin throw at the Diamond League meeting in Rome on Thursday night.
Viljoen, who holds the African record of 65.43m, took the early lead in a field of nine with a 60.45m effort in the first round.
However, world record holder Barbara Spotakova of the Czech Republic took over in the second round, eventually winning with a best effort of 68.66m. Only four other women have ever throw further.
Spotakova’s fourth round effort, the second furthest throw in the world this year, improved the 10-year-old meeting record of 68.22m held by Norwegian Trine Hattestad.
Viljoen, the only South African in action in Rome, went over the 60m mark with her first four throws, staying clear of Ukrainian Vira Rebryk who was third with a best of 62.44m.
Having earned two points for her performance, Viljoen is third after two of seven meetings in her event in the Diamond League season race.
The next Diamond League meeting, the fifth of 14 in total this season, will be held in New York on Saturday.