19 AUGUST 2016
Super Sunette buries London disappointment with silver in Rio
Twice a Commonwealth javelin champion, Sunette Viljoen finally got her hands on a coveted Olympic Games medal on Thursday night. It’s been four long and painful years since the disappointment of the last Games in London as she ended one place off the podium with German opponent Linda Stahl beating her to bronze. Here in Rio, Viljoen’s form was evident from the get-go with her first throw setting the tone with a 64.92-metre effort. On another day it might have been good for gold but not this time as Croatian Sara Kolak collected top honours with a 66.18m best of the night. Viljoen’s only other two throws pegged at 61.04 and 63m but the 64.92 was good enough to seal silver.
‘I feel so overwhelmed. I was so close to the gold medal … it was right there until the end,’ said Viljoen who at 32 years of age, was the fourth oldest woman in the final.
‘To win a silver, I couldn’t ask for more after London. To come back after four years and to keep fighting … I couldn’t have asked for more. For a whole four years I’ve been praying and asking to be the Olympic champion. To come so close … I tried and tried and tried and I got the silver.’ Viljoen admitted that the memories of London were never far away on Thursday night. ‘My heart started to pump in the last round as if I had to lose a medal again in the last round I don’t know … but luckily it didn’t happen,’ Viljoen recalled.
She’s also certainly not done with competitive athletics, even at 32 and hinted that she has her sights set on a third Commonwealth Games title, with the next games being hosted by Gold Coast in Australia two years from now and she’ll stand a very real chance of grabbing her third gold at those Games.
SA bronze medallist’s biggest fan… on his journey to the podium
By Mark Etheridge
While an Olympic medal may be won by one person, in most cases there’s a team behind the scenes, or even a special person in particular. So as Henri Schoeman raced to South Africa’s first ever Olympic triathlon medal on the Rio beachfront on Thursday, he might just have heard an excited squeal from the African continent.
That came from his girlfriend of five years, Franzel Allen, back in KwaZulu-Natal… undoubtedly one of his biggest fans who has stuck with him through thick and thin,
through good times and bad.
So excited was Allen after Schoeman’s bronze medal that she went so far as to wear one of his tri-suits to her work as a commercial insurance broker on Friday morning.
She took time out to share just what it’s like dating an Olympic medallist and what the journey has been like to reach that podium.
‘I’m absolutely elated for him, there is no one on earth who deserves this more…
although I might be biased ‘This achievement has however rendered me speechless and I have so much love and pride in my heart for him. Henri is a very special guy, he has a quiet strength that demands to be heard and his dedication to his career is unshakable. He is so extremely humble and I think that can very well be his biggest appeal.
‘When we started dating back in 2011, I thought he was the best in the world when
he came fourth in a BSG race, little did I know…
‘With the years however came the experience. I saw every sacrifice, injury, disappointment and victory and I saw him dust it off and get back on his bike, put his head down and carry on.’ Sacrifices there were aplenty and as the saying goes ‘when days are dark friends are few’. ‘I saw him lose friends and get frowned upon because he can’t go to parties and events every other day. His idea of a great night, is chilling with his legs up and very few people understand why he actually needs to do that.
How Team SA fared on Friday
South Africa had competitors in action across just two codes on Friday (19 August). Here is how they fared.
Men’s 50km walk: Marc Mundell finished 37th in a time of 4hr 11min 33sec
In a nutshell: After a slow start, the 2012 Olympian steadily made his way through the field. He was lying 77th, 76th and 75th at the five, 10 and 15km marks and at halfway (passed in 2:03:06) he’d moved up to 68th. With 10km to go he had improved that to 43rd and made up another six positions over the final 10km. He ended 30:05 behind gold medallist Matej Toth of Slovakia.
Women’s 20km walk: Anel Oosthuizen finished 63rd in a time of 1:45:06
In a nutshell: The 21 -year-old found the going tough in her debut Olympics and was always near the back of the field as she ended 16:31 behind the winner, China’s Hong Liu. However, she’ll do well to savour the experience and know that she’s been on the biggest stage of all and be hungry for more in Tokyo 2020.
Women’s competition, round three: Paulo Reto shot another under-par round, this time a 68 to add to her earlier 75 and 67. She sits at four-under par and in tie for eighth.
Ashleigh Simon shot a six-over 77 to be at eight-over par overall after earlier rounds 75 and