By Mark Etheridge
Commonwealth Games champion Sunette Viljoen hurled herself right into Olympic Games medal contention with a super victory in the javelin event at Saturday night’s Diamond League track and field event in New York.
Viljoen, bronze medallist in last year’s World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, threw a personal best, national best,┬á continental best and world-leading 69.35 metres to take gold.
A slow starter this year, her silver at the Rome leg of the Diamond League last week served notice that she’s hitting her straps at just the right time.
She was an obvious inclusion in Team South Africa at Wednesday’s team announcement for the Olympic Games later this year and her latest achievement puts her right up into Games medal contention.
Her opening effort was a standard 60.48m but she improved in all her following efforts to nail the win with her final effort of the evening. After her opener, her throws read: 64.51, 65.34, 66.60 and 69.35.
Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova was runner up with a 68.73 season’s best.
Before last night her 67.95 silver effort in Rome last week was her best of the season.
Other South African attempts on Saturday night were overshadowed by Viljoen.
Bladerunner Oscar Pistorius continues to fall short in his effort to run down an international A standard qualifer in the 400m.
Already having done that on local soil, his 46.14sec seventh place finish on Saturday was 0.84sec outside the mark as the Dominican Republic’s Luguelin Santos won in 45.24.
Then in the men’s 1500m, United States based Peter van der Westhuizen was also off the mark when he ended ninth in 3:37.93. US athlete Bernard Lagat won in 3:34.63. A standard mark is 3:35.50.
In the women’s 800m, in-form Ethiopian Fantu Magiso continued to serve notice that she’s the one to beat at the Olympics when she celebrated her 20th birthday with an impressive 1:57.48 win. World champion in 2009 and silver medallist in 2011, our Caster Semenya would have taken good notice of her rival’s good form.