Viljoen feels like 'mountain is off my shoulders'
South Africa’s javelin queen Sunette Viljoen qualified for her first Olympic final in the javelin throw at the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday.
The African and national record holder topped her qualification group with her first attempt, with a distance of 65.92 metres, to ensure her participation in Thursday night’s final.
Viljoen said it felt like a weight had been lifted off her as she overcame the first hurdle in her pursuit of winning an Olympic medal.
“I was so happy and I am just so pleased with the throw,” Viljoen said.
“I felt really good this morning after all the training that I’ve done.
“I know what I’ve put in and it is just a matter of time to let everything come together.
“It feels like a mountain is off my shoulders to come successfully through the qualification rounds.”
The 28-year-old, tipped to clinch a medal for South Africa, came into the Games as the number one women’s javelin thrower in the world after improving her own national record with a 69.39 metres heave at the New York Diamond League meeting in June.
The country experienced a stellar morning in the track and field with 110m hurdler Lehann Fourie and 200m sprinter Anaso Jobodwana both reaching the semi-finals of their respective events.
Fourie, who was somewhat of a surprise inclusion in the SA team, ran a season’s best time of 13.49 seconds to qualify for the semi-finals on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old struggled with a niggling injury in the lead-up to the Games but he seemed to have found his form at the right time, missing his personal best by 0.05 seconds.
He came second behind world record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba to advance to the next round.
Fourie said he knew he had to run a season’s best to go through and was just relieved to have reached the semi-final.
“I had a good start, I hit hurdle five or six and I stumbled a bit and I had to kind of keep my composure towards the end,” Fourie said.
“I was kind of diving for the line to go through.”
The 20-year-old Jobodwana finished off South Africa’s morning session strongly, setting himself up for a semi-final race.
Jobodwana finished second behind French sprinter Christophe Lemaitre in a time of 20.46 seconds.