Here’s a fun story on South African javelinist Sunette Viljoen, who has many skills that we did not know about and also won an Olympic medal in something other than the javelin! Stuart Weir is always there to help educate us at these meetings! Thanks, Stuart!
Sunette Viljoen – much more than just a javelin thrower
You know the old saying, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Sunette Viljoen entered the final round of the women’s javelin at the Athletics World Cup in third place but produced the longest throw of the evening, 61.69 meters to take maximum points for South Africa.
She said afterwards: “For me that win was very special, especially after finishing fourth in the London Olympics. You have to grab the opportunity and see it as an open door. The distances were not far but a win is a win, and to win the first Athletics World Cup is special. I like competing in London because the atmosphere is brilliant.
“It’s nice to compete in an environment where you are competing for your country and to get eight points for South Africa is nice. Being in a team environment, it inspires everyone to do well because you want your team to do well. I hope this will light a fire for the athletes to do well tomorrow”.
On Twitter she was more reflective: “After a tough battle tonight and an ever tougher one off the field, I am so proud of this gold medal and to be called the first World Cup Champion. I am happier I could contribute to my team’s medal tally! Thank you to everyone who plays a role!”
Six things you might not know about Sunette
1 She played cricket 17 times for South Africa, including the 2000 World Cup.
2 In 2016 she became the first international cricketer for 96 years to win an Olympic medal.
3 Cricket or athletics? : “I enjoyed team sport but I also enjoy the individual aspect of the javelin. In a team sport you can hide behind your team mates when you lose and when you win. But in your athletics career you are alone on the field and you win alone or lose alone”.
3 Best Olympic venue experience: “London, for me, was wonderful and it was a wonderful atmosphere. When I walked out in Rio, I missed that electricity that there was in the London Olympic stadium. The atmosphere in Rio was not that electric”.
4 Boxing. “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”.
5 The secret of training is variety: “I can’t do the same this week, next week, next week, over and over again. I am a person who likes to spice up my training program and to challenge myself in all aspects of my training and do different kinds of exercises because otherwise you’re going to get bored”.
6 She once caught a shark “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”.