Super Sunette: 'It just felt so right'
South African javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen got the country’s track and field campaign off to a dream start by winning her event while Natalie du Toit added a second gold medal to her tally at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday.
Competing in front of over 67 000 predominantly Australian athletics fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Potchefstroom’s Viljoen showed big match temperament in producing a second competition throw of 60,72m.
It was a season best and good enough to hold off the challenge of Eva Laverne of the Bahamas, who took silver with a competition best of 60,54m.
“It’s difficult to say what made my second throw so special, but it just felt so right,” said Viljoen. Her effort was just the boost that the SA track and field team may have needed in their quest to improve on the eight medals that they delivered at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
At the Melbourne Aquatics Centre, Du Toit collected her second gold medal by winning the 100m elite athletes with disabilities race in 1:01,81.
In the men’s 100m freestyle race Ryk Neethling and Roland Schoeman claimed silver and bronze at 49,20 and 49,24 respectively.
There were good performances from Lauren Roets (Africa record of 25,64 in the 50 metres freestyle morning heats), Gerhard Zandberg
(African record of 55,41 in the 100 metres backstroke semifinal)
and Wendy Trott (Africa record of 8:39,18 in finishing fifth in the
800 metres freestyle final) so there is a possibility of more
medals for Team SA during Monday’s swimming programme.
At the end of the fourth day of competition SA have a total of 12 medals (five gold, two silver and five bronze).
Still in the running for medals is welterweight boxer Bongani Mwelase who came from behind on points to pile on the pressure against Australian Anthony Mahony. His flurry of blows forced the referee to stop the contest in the fourth round.
The men’s pairs bowls team of Kevin Campbell (who dyed his hair
in the six colours of the SA flag) and Shaun Addinall booked their
place in the semifinals of the tournament after a 2-1 quarterfinal
win over Malta.
SA’s men’s hockey team showed great character in playing to a 1-1 draw with much-fancied Pakistan, courtesy of a second half strike by Reece Basson, with the opponents scoring with less than 90 seconds left on the clock.
The SA netball side outplayed St Vincent and Grenadines 80-34, but the marathon athletes found the going tough, with Neo Molema ending 11th in the men’s marathon in 2:29,04, while team-mate Tseko Mpholokeng did not finish the race, due to severe shin pain.
Tanith Maxwell took 12th place in 2:41,47 in the women’s marathon with Charne Rademeyer placed 15th in 2:50,05.
At the Velodrome, Garth Thomas finished 11th in the 20km scratch track cycling race.
On the shooting front, SA finished fifth in both the men’s double trap pairs and the 25 metres rapid fire pairs, and took eighth spot in the open full bore competition.