A Kangaroo, photo by Stuart Weir
Stuart Weir wrote a bit on the 4th day of the athletic schedule, on April 11. My apologies on not posting day 4 on day 4, as I had a medical procedure. But now, I am back home and posting the selected works of one J. Stuart Weir.
There was an Australian 1-2 in the Commonwealth Games women’s javelin with Kathryn Mitchell winning with a throw of 68.92 – a Games and area record – and Kelsey-Lee Roberts second on 63.89. Mitchell, said of her opening and winning throw: “I’ve started to just look at it like a good throw can come at any time when you’ve got six throws. I’ve opened before with my biggest throw, I’ve also thrown my biggest throw in the last round. “
“The less I focus on results, the more the results come. I tried to put all thought of results out of my mind. I knew I could throw the Australian record eventually, so I just said to myself, ‘allow it to come’.”
Perversely, I want to write about Sunette Viljoen of South Africa who was third with 62.08. Viljoen declared herself “so happy I was able to walk away with bronze considering I only took part in one competition ahead of the Commonwealth Games”.
She added that 2018 was a full year with Diamond Leagues, a World Cup and an Inter continental cup, “Because of that”, she said, “I prepared to the best of my ability to what my body was capable of. I’m sure my timing will come back slowly as I aim to become the first South African to compete in five Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.”
When the competition ended, Viljoen was seen hugging Mitchell. Generously, Viljoen said that she was delighted for Kathryn:”It’s so special for Kathryn to win a gold medal in front of her home crowd. She’s a good friend of mine, we’ve competed together for a very long time. It’s wonderful for her to win in Australia.”
Sunette Viljoen was timed out in the fifth round, victim of the new rule which only allows throwers 30 seconds to complete the throw. She described what happened:
“The new rule is that you only have 30 seconds to take your throw. It used to be a minute but now you only have thirty seconds. So if your rhythm is not right you don’t have time for a second chance. I wasn’t happy with my rhythm, stopped and went back to start again. I wanted to re-focus and go again but the officials said ‘It’s 30 seconds and it’s over’. The time was gone. So I lost my fifth throw”.
Gold Coast was the fourth successive Commonwealth Games in which Viljoen has medalled. She won gold in Melbourne and New Delhi, silver in Glasgow and bronze in Gold Coast. In addition she has an Olympic and two world championship medals.
The Commonwealth is very special to her: “The Commonwealth Games is very close to my heart and I took a lot of pride in being the Commonwealth champion. I really enjoy competing at the Commonwealth Games because they are a very friendly games”.
There are several things about Sunette Viljoen that you may not know:
1 She played international cricket for South Africa, including a World Cup game, until her retirement aged just 19.
2 She does some boxing as part of her programme. “Boxing makes me very fit and helps with my upper body strength and the speed that I hit the gloves with plays a big role in me delivering the javelin. You need to have good arm speed when you deliver the javelin. In boxing, I hit with power and with speed and when you take those two together, it really helps with my throwing. I deliver the javelin with speed and force, exactly the same way I box with speed and with force”.
3 I don’t suppose many Olympic javelin throwers have caught a shark, but Sunette Viljoen has. I had to get the story: “I really enjoy outdoor activities including fishing. Once I went to do deep sea fishing and I really enjoyed it. On the open sea I had a big bite and the rod was bending, bending, bending so far down. And the next moment I caught this big shark. I landed it on the boat but we let it go. But it was a big one”.
A good start to a busy year for a superb athlete.
PS The women’s 3000m steeplechase was won by Aisha Praught of Jamaica from Chespol and Kurui of Kenya, prompting the tweet of the day from Asbel Kiprop: “If it was possible for Jamaica to win Steeplechase then dreams are valid for Kenya to ever win 100m”
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