Semenya, Viljoen, Hartley Carry SA Hopes

Sunette Viljoen and her coach, Terseus Liebenberg, in the Olympic Stadium after she qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games Javelin final, on 7 August 2012. Picture by Wessel Oosthuizen / SA Sports Picture Agency

Sunette Viljoen, Caster Semenya and Bridgitte Hartley will fly the flag for South African women in sport when they take centre stage at the Olympic Games on National Women’s Day on Thursday.

Both Viljoen and Hartley will be aiming for gold in their respective finals while Semenya will be looking to book a place in the 800m finals.

Caster Semenya, 800m medallist prospect, press conference at Team SA media centre at Copthorne Hotel. Picture by Wessel Oosthuizen / SA Sports Picture AgencyHartley is in action first up in the day in the final of the Women’s Kayak after coming first in her semi-final in a time of 1:51:286. She will be in lane five in Final A at 11:08am (SA time).

She tweeted shortly after qualifying: “Thank you everyone for all the lovely messages. You (are) all special! I hope you all enjoyed watching as I enjoyed racing today!”

Viljoen will feature in the women’s javelin final after automatically qualifying with her first throw of 65.9m in Tuesday’s heats.

She qualified best in Group B and 3rd best overall for the javelin final at 10pm (SA time) on Thursday.

Speaking ahead of the final, SAPA quoted Viljoen as saying: “”I’m fast, I’m strong, I have faith, I have belief and anything is possible if you have belief,” she said.

“I always told myself that I would be nominated for an Olympic medal. The first thing I wanted to achieve was to be in an Olympic final, and now anything can happen.”

South Africa will be hoping for another woman’s final when Semenya lines up for the semi-finals of the 800metres at 20:30pm (SA time) on Thursday night.

Semenya qualified for the semi-finals of the 800m, with a measured run, which saw her qualify in second place in her heat in a time of 2:00.71.

BBC Africa quoted Semenya as saying: “I wanted race to be fast. I have to run sub-two min race to be contender.”


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Launched in 2006, gsport exists to enhance the commercial prospects of our women athletes, and other women in sport, by telling the inspiring story of SA women in sport. Thank you for your contribution!

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