National 19.8.2016 05:35 am

Viljoen returns to grab Olympic silver

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 18: Sunette Viljoen of South Africa celebrates after finishing second and winning the silver medal in the women's javelin during the evening session on Day 13 Athletics of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Olympic Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 18: Sunette Viljoen of South Africa celebrates after finishing second and winning the silver medal in the women's javelin during the evening session on Day 13 Athletics of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Olympic Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

Returning four years after settling for the worst possible position in an Olympic final, Sunette Viljoen took her chance at the Rio Games in the early hours of Friday morning, grabbing the silver medal in the women’s javelin throw final.

Viljoen, a two-time World Championships bronze medallist, had taken fourth position at the London showpiece four years ago.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 18: Sunette Viljoen of South Africa in the women's javelin final during the evening session on Day 13 Athletics of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Olympic Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 18: Sunette Viljoen of South Africa in the women’s javelin final during the evening session on Day 13 Athletics of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Olympic Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

Taking no risks this time, she launched a 64.92m heave with her first attempt to secure the early lead.
While Sara Kolak of Poland took the advantage with a 66.18m effort in the fourth round, the South African record holder had done enough to reach the second spot on the podium, holding off Czech world record holder Barbora Spotakova by 12 centimetres.

“I feel so overwhelmed,” Viljoen said afterwards.

“I was so close to the gold medal. It was right there until the end.

“But after London, to have kept fighting for another four years and come back to win silver, I couldn’t have asked for more.”

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 18: Sunette Viljoen of South Africa raises her arms after throwing a good distance in the women's javelin final during the evening session on Day 13 Athletics of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Olympic Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 18: Sunette Viljoen of South Africa raises her arms after throwing a good distance in the women’s javelin final during the evening session on Day 13 Athletics of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Olympic Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

Viljoen bagged the SA team’s ninth medal, with the nation having racked up one gold, six silver and two bronze ahead of the last three days of competition at the multi-sport Games.

Meanwhile, Caster Semenya coasted through the penultimate round of the women’s 800m event, comfortably winning her semifinal in 1:58.15.

“I was not expecting such a quick pace… but I’m happy with that performance and looking forward to the final,” Semenya said.

“The main thing was to get through and stay for the final. It’s another one down and there’s one more to go.”

Semenya cemented her place as the firm favourite for gold, progressing as the fastest qualifier for the final, to be held in the early hours of Sunday morning (SA time).

 

Elsewhere in the late session on day 13 of the multi-sport Games, Paula Reto was lying in a tie for 32nd position in the women’s golf tournament at one under par, nine shots off the pace of Korean leader Inbee Park.

Compatriot Ashleigh Simon was three strokes further back in a tie for 41st place with two rounds remaining.

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