Javelin Champs to Slug it Out

by | Feb 1, 2007

The Yellow Pages Ultimate Athletics in Potchefstroom on Friday night promises to be full of jam-packed action, as Commonwealth Javelin Champion Anika Smit makes her long awaited return to competition after a long absence due to injury.

And now Sunette Viljoen, the Commonwealth Games Javelin Champion and Justine Robbeson, the Africa Champion, go head to head in what promises to be one of the most fiercely contested events of the year in South African Athletics.

Viljoen is raring to find the form she displayed in Melbourne in March last year. If she gets it right on the night technically, she will be incredibly difficult to beat.

In July of 2006 during a development clinic she was just about reaching the 64m-66m mark. And whereas that was only in “training”, it shows the awesome capability Viljoen has.

“I’m really looking forward to Friday. I’ll be competing in front of my home crowd who really has supported me over the last few years. Now in training I have been coming close to the 60m, 61m mark and that is encouraging.

“I do still need to iron out a few technical problems,” said Viljoen. “I tend to fall off a bit as I deliver the javelin which means that I throw it slightly to the right and lose distance that way.

“But I’m confident for Friday and really looking forward to it.” Viljoen also hinted in her shy manner that she would like to take back the African Record she lost to Justine Robbeson.

Viljoen will have her work cut out for her. Justine Robbeson, a former world junior heptathlon champion who recently switched to the javelin, is in the shape of her life.

Robbeson won the Africa Championships title and represented Africa in 2006 at the World Cup of Athletics.

She also threw the Javelin over 60m in five competitions last year, one of which is the current SA and Africa Record of 62.80m. The result was a year-end ranking of 8th on the IAAF Ranking list for 2006.

In training on Tuesday Robbeson was hitting the 60m plus mark off a short run up every two out of three throws. Ominous signs for Viljoen, and a huge confidence booster for Robbeson.  Coming off an injury, Viljoen says she cannot wait to start competing.

All that is needed now for Friday is a slight headwind from the right to give the javelin some extra flight, and we could well see both Sunette Viljoen and Justine Robbeson joining Elizna Naude as World Championship qualifiers, and R10 000 richer, the incentive provided by ASA and Yellow Pages for any athlete who hits the IAAF A-Qualification mark. For the two Javelin girls, that magical mark is 61m.

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