African record holder Viljoen aiming high

2011-06-03 10:28 by Administrator

Sunette Viljoen

Eugene, USA - African Javelin Throw record holder Sunette Viljoen, who competes in the fourth leg of the 14 meeting  2011 Samsung Diamond League in Eugene on Saturday, is very proud of the fact that she has won two Commonwealth Games gold medals, three African titles, and is also the reigning World Student Games champion.

Now the 28-year-old who emerged as a genuine world class performer when throwing her lifetime best of 66.38 metres in Prague last June, is hungry for more success at an even higher level and wants to ensure it happens sooner rather than later.

She firmly believes she can continue to improve and become a genuine contender for Championship medals against the current golden girls such as the Czech Republic's Olympic champion and World record holder Barbora Spotakova, Russia's Mariya Abakumova who took the silver medal behind her in Beijing and Germany's ever consistent Christina Obergfoll. 

That is one of the reasons Viljoen is a highly enthusiastic supporter of the Samsung Diamond League stressing although South Africa will always serve as her training base, the worldwide global track and field tour in her case serves as a springboard to achieving even greater goals.

"My technical work I do in Potchestroom with my coach Tertius Liebenberg and I do some of my other training in my home town Rastenberg where I come from and where I live," said Viljoen.

"But although there are competitions at home, I really do need to come to Europe to prove myself and it is something I enjoy being on the circuit."

“Everywhere in Europe and the rest of the world athletics is a really big sport while back in South Africa it's not so big. That's why it's nice for me to be part of the Samsung Diamond League and to have the opportunity to be competing amongst elite athletes which fetches out the best in me.”

"It offers great opportunities as you saw last year which was a brilliant one for me as I finally went through the 66m mark and threw an African record."

That throw saw her end 2010 as the seventh best on the world season list, having in her 14 appearances also placed runner up at the IAAF / VTB Bank Continental Cup and had three Samsung Diamond League podium finishes comprising a victory in Gateshead, second place in Rome and third in Monaco.

Viljoen who will stay in the United States for the New York leg of the Samsung Diamond League on 11 June, added: "So I need to repeat and then improve on this form in the run up to the World Championships this summer and next year's Olympics.

"I have also to get ready for the defence of my World Student Games title which is very important to me," she said of the high profile event being held in Shenzhen, China, from 12-25 August. 

She insisted: "I think I know what it needs to become one of the best throwers in the world. I'm not afraid of anyone or anything. My preparations are going really well and I'm working very hard.”

"That is the reason I want to take part in all of the Diamond League meetings and I am pleased I made a good start in Rome last week when starting at over 60m and then I improved to 61.72 and finished third in Ostrava on Tuesday.”

"I'm certain now that I am back on European soil there will be even greater improvements from me as I really enjoy competing against the best and strongest rivals in the world.”

"It's going to be a long season before the World Championships and staying fit and healthy towards Daegu is another top priority to consider."

Viljoen whose son Herve will be six on June 22, added: "After New York I will return home. It's always nice to go back home and see the family and other friends. I will be there for three weeks then I will be back (in Europe) for Paris on 8 July."

Definitely ruling out a permanent move, she said: "Africa's my home and I enjoy being there. I always perform my best when I go to Europe and a lot of athletes also come to Africa in the winter time.”

"There are a lot of Czech people including Spotakova who have come to "Potch" for six weeks this year and then you have your athletes who come every year like Andreas (Thorkildsen).”

"I think they like the environment and the training facilities which are first class. So Africa is a very important place for preparation and it is for me."

Viljoen looking into her crystal ball, said: "I think everyone has their own way of thinking and their own mind and their own goals and my long term one is the Olympics 2012."

Knowing she will need to improve her personal best another four metres or so to be a medal contender, she vowed: "70 metres is my ultimate goal it will come and I hope it will come next year."

Certainly she will have a chance to start her improvement in Eugene where a loaded field, includes Abakumova, Obergfoll, Spotakova and defending champion Kara Patterson of the United States.


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