Sunette at sharp end

01 August 2014 - 02:03 By David Isaacson in Glasgow
GO WITH THE THROW: Sunette Viljoen of South Africa on day 7 of the 20th Commonwealth Games at Hampden Park Athletics Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland
GO WITH THE THROW: Sunette Viljoen of South Africa on day 7 of the 20th Commonwealth Games at Hampden Park Athletics Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland
Image: ROGER SEDRES/GALLO IMAGES

After the despair of finishing fourth at the 2012 London Olympics, Sunette Viljoen bounced back in Glasgow on Wednesday night, clinching silver with her final throw in the women's javelin event.

Her 63.19m effort was not the best throw of her career, nor did the medal colour match the golds she bagged at the previous two Commonwealth Games, but it was a performance that left her beaming.

"To come back from London, in my personal life to fight back, this is gold for me," said mother-of-one Viljoen, who last year publicly admitted she was lesbian, which didn't go down well with all of her family.

"Personally I have triumphed. There are a lot of things I can take out of Glasgow going forward."

In London she was unable to claw back after being knocked into fourth spot from the bronze position in the fourth round of the competition.

This time Viljoen had moved into the silver medal position on her third attempt, but in the final sixth round Australian Kelsey-Lee Roberts pushed her down to bronze.

This time, Viljoen fought back.

"There are a few psychological aspects I've been working on back home, getting my head right to stay calm and composed," said Viljoen, 30.

"To get the emotional energy right, not to get anxious and pressured, to stay focused and calm. As soon as the emotions get too much you can't perform," she said.

"My heart was pumping fast - dju-dju-dju-dju-dju - the whole competition."

But she also remembered the pain of her London miss.

"I think the nastiest position to finish on is fourth. You get so close to a medal.

"My heart goes out to the Australian girl [Kathryn Mitchell]."

Winner Kim Mickle, the third Australian in the field, threw a Games record of 65.96.

Viljoen was particularly pleased with her consistency on the night, throwing five 62s and then the 63.

"I know if I throw consistently there's a big throw coming."

Viljoen threw the 69.35m African record before the London Olympics.

"My big distances will come."

Viljoen stressed that coming out as gay last year had helped her shed emotional baggage.

"Just to let it go made me so much lighter, my heart lighter, on my feet lighter - you can focus on your God-given talent."

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