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Viljoen back on track

By Mark Etheridge

Our Sunette Viljoen was the star of the South African contingent doing duty at the IAAF/VTB Bank Continental Cup track and field meeting in Split, Croatia on Saturday.

Competing on the first of two days of competition, the Commonwealth and African javelin champion came second when her second throw pegged at 62.21 metres.

That was some way behind Russia’s Maria Abakumova who threw a huge 68.14m but Viljoen wasn’t fazed.

“Yes, I’m very happy with that performance, especially after battling with a sore toe for a while now. I’m really, really proud of my throw. Now I’m going to take about a week’s rest before I start training really hard for Commonwealth Games in New Delhi next month.”

Encouraging for Viljoen was that of her four throws, all but one was over 60m and the one that wasn’t was just 2cm shy.

Other South Africans in action on Saturday were Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles champion LJ van Zyl. Battling with his form lately, Van Zyl took fifth behind Britain’s David Greene who ran a fine personal best of 47.88.

Greene will be up against Van Zyl in New Delhi but will be happy that he dipped under 50 with his time of 49.97 as he has failed to break 50sec twice in the last few weeks.

“It was okay, not my best definitely, but I want to be at my best for India in a month’s time,” said Van Zyl. “Even though I haven’t had my best year, I’m staying positive and believing in myself.”

Another of our Commonwealth champions, Elizna Naude ended seventh in the discus with a throw of 55.79m as China’s Yanfeng Li won in 63.79.

In the men’s field events Burger Lambrechts ended sixth in the shot put with an 18.81m heave (winner was American Christian Cantwell in 21.87). And then Chris Harmse took seventh in the men’s hammer with a throw of 71.06m behind Slovakia’s Libor Charfreitag’s 79.69.

Finally our men’s 4x100m relay team ended third of four teams as Europe were disqualified. Hannes Dreyer, Simon Magakwe, Wilhelm vd Vyver and Thuso Muang combined for a time of 39.82 in a race won by a powerful Americas team in 38.25.