South African javelin record holder Sunette Viljoen says while her dream is to win an Olympic medal, her focus is to make the Olympic Final on 8 August, which she says will be a great gift to the country during Women’s Month.
Viljoen reached the required qualifying distance of 61m with a throw of 61.15m at the SA Senior Championships in Port Elizabeth over the weekend.
Speaking to gsport ahead of Wednesday’s celebrations to mark 100 days to the London 2012 Olympic Games, Viljoen said she worked hard to qualify, but admitted that the really hard work starts now.
“After my World Championship medal last year, I have a big belief in myself and where my talents come from. It will be absolutely amazing if I could win a medal but my first priority is to reach the final, because I have not been in an Olympic final yet, and I want to take it step-by-step leading into the final.
“August has always been very good for me; I have always done well in the month of August. So, with Olympic final on the 8th and Women’s Day on the 9th, it would be amazing to do well, so I have to be in the best possible shape.”
Viljoen is putting herself through a rigorous programme to ensure she hits her peak form for London, which includes at least three training camps, the African Championships in Benin – where she plans to defend her title, and IAAF Diamond League meetings in Doha, Rome, and London.
“My coach and I are deciding whether I’ll join a 10-day training camp in Prague in the Czech Republic or do my training here at home,” said Viljoen, considering what the jam-packed diary could entail.
“And then we have the Diamond League meetings in London on the 13th and 14th of July, which will be perfect leading into London (2012), and then we have our Olympic Training camp at St Anne’s in Twickenham in the lead-up to the Olympic Games.”
Viljoen is most grateful for the room her ‘little man’, Henré, gives her, “He knows me as his ‘athletics mommy’, its something he’s grown up with, he doesn’t know anything else. I have a lovely support system, my mom, my dad and my sister, and it’s not actually as if I’m away, he’s with his family, he knows where I am and what I’m doing.
“I miss him so much when I’m away,” she says lovingly of her seven year-old, “But it’s such a nice time of my life to be a mom, it’s very special.”
Viljoen is quick to acknowledge the support she receives from SASCOC. “As an A-category contracted athlete, I earn a monthly salary from SASCOC, and they really go out of their way to make my life as easy as possible, so that I can focus on my training,” said Viljoen. “adidas is my clothing sponsor, and Sportron supplies my vitamins and nutritional supplements to assist me at competition time.”
In more Olympic news at the SA Swimming Championships and Olympic Trials in Durban on Monday night, local swimming sensation Kathryn Meaklim became the second female athlete to qualify after Viljoen when she won the women’s 400m individual medley when she clocked 4:37.70, over four seconds quicker than the A-standard time of 4:41.75.
She told Road to London 2012: “The race went really well – in the morning I wasn’t feeling really good in the water, so (I) just wanted to go out really strong and go for it in the evening.
“This didn’t work out too well though, as I didn’t have such a good first 200, but by the time the breaststroke leg was there, I was starting to feel really great and strong and powerful, like all the years of hard training had started to kick in.”
“When I touched the wall, I was so, so happy – there’s always that doubt at the back of your mind, the worrying, and to have done it has taken a lot of pressure off! Also, watching Chad le Clos, my team-mate do it earlier in the evening, was such a huge inspiration and made me really excited!”