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Thu Apr 24 10:31:43 SAST 2014

Sunette becomes a contender

Sports staff and Sapa | 11 June, 2012 07:020 Comments
David Rudisha of Kenya wins the men's 800m race at the Diamond League New York Grand Prix athletics meet on Saturday

SOUTH Africa's Sunette Viljoen has suddenly emerged as an Olympic medal contender with a stunning performance in the javelin on Saturday in New York.

She broke her South African record at the New York Diamond League meeting and beat world record-holder Barbora Spotakova in the process.

Viljoen's winning distance of 69.35m is the world's best this year.

She started the meeting with a pedestrian 60.48m while Spotakova laid down the gauntlet with a massive throw of 68.72m.

The SA record-holder progressed steadily, with her following throws reaching the 65m mark.

Her fifth - and what proved to be her final - throw of the evening saw her breaking the SA record of 68.38m, which she had set at last year's Daegu World Championships, by just under a metre.

Spotakova finished in second place with a final heave of 68.73m and Kara Patterson of the US finished third with a distance of 60.03m.

Meanwhile, South African double-amputee Oscar Pistorius failed to reach the 400m Olympic qualifying time of 45.30sec.

Pistorius is trying to become the first double-amputee to run in the able-bodied Olympics at the London Games next month.

He finished seventh in a time of 46.14sec with Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic winning in 45.24sec and Jeremy Wariner of the US taking second place in 45.30sec.

Christopher Brown of the Bahamas came third in 45.35sec.

Pistorius is still confident he can meet the 400m Olympic standard by the end of June.

"I have another two races by the end of the month," Pistorius said. "I'm sure I can put it together."

Yohan Blake and fellow Jamaican Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the 100m sprints, while Kenya's David Rudisha scored a sensational victory in the 800m.

Rudisha left a nine-man field far behind as he ran alone from the halfway point to win with a time of one minute 41.74sec for the fastest time ever registered in the US and best time in the world this season.

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