Olympic silver medallist Sunette Viljoen was delighted with her performance in Sasolburg on Tuesday night, proving her fitness and receiving the green light to compete at the Commonwealth Games starting on Australia’s Gold Coast next week.
Viljoen withdrew from last year’s World Championships due to a back injury, and she pulled out of the national championships earlier this month while undergoing rehabilitation, which placed her appearance at the Games in doubt.
Turning out in an unofficial mini-contest at the Sasol NWU-Pukke International meeting, which included only two other competitors (both men), Viljoen launched a 62.46m heave.
While it was nearly seven metres short of her SA javelin throw record, the respectable effort indicated she was ready to go in search of her fourth successive medal in her specialist discipline at the Commonwealth spectacle.
“My heart is smiling as I passed my fitness test… ready to compete!” Viljoen posted on social media.
In other events at the Sasolburg meeting, World Championships silver medallist Piotr Lisek of Poland had the crowd behind him as he soared to a comfortable victory in the men’s pole vault, sailing over the bar at 5.60m.
Orazio Cremona maintained his fine form, winning the men’s shot put with a solid 20.24m heave, and veteran Chris Harmse delivered a 67.31m throw to beat Alan Cumming by one centimetre in the men’s hammer.
In a tightly contested 1 500m race, teenager Ryan Mphahlele set a personal best of 3:40.44, holding off Nkosinathi Sibiya by 0.05 in a sprint finish, and Rynardt van Rensburg took a hard-fought 800m race in 1:46.75.
SA-born long jumper Karin Mey, a former World Championships bronze medallist now representing Turkey, landed at 6.49m in the women’s long jump to beat national champion Lynique Beneke by 30 centimetres, and Rikenette Steenkamp clocked 13.24 seconds, well clear of her nearest opponent, in her first 100m hurdles race of the season.