Sunette targets Continental Cup

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iol spt aug9 Sunette Viljoen Reuters Javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen hopes to qualify for the IAAF Continental Cup with another dominant performance at the African Athletics Championships. Photo: Reuters

Johannesburg – Javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen hopes to qualify for the IAAF Continental Cup with another dominant performance at the African Athletics Championships.

Viljoen will target her fourth continental title at the African spectacle, which starts in Marrakech on Sunday, as she spearheads the 37-member SA squad at the biennial event.

The gold and silver medallists in each discipline will book their places in the African team for the quadrennial IAAF Continental Cup, to be held in the Moroccan city next month.

Viljoen, who won the African crown in 2004, 2008 and 2010, was the silver medallist at the 2010 Continental Cup in Split, Croatia.

“At the Continental Cup we won't be competing so much for ourselves, but rather aiming to put on a good performance for our continent,” she said.

“It is always a good feeling competing for your continent.”

Viljoen, 30, said she was still revelling in her third successive medal at the Commonwealth Games.

The former World Championships bronze medallist bounced back after missing out on the podium at the 2012 London Olympics, where she took fourth place, and last year's IAAF World Championships in Moscow, where she ended sixth, by securing silver at the Glasgow Games last week.

She had bagged gold at the previous two editions of the Commonwealth showpiece.

“I am ecstatic with my silver medal. I can't stop smiling because of the way I won that silver. It means so much,” Viljoen said.

“To have produced a 63-metre throw under such immense pressure means the world to me and shows that the mental aspects we have been working on have paid off.

“I'm very proud of the character and composure I showed.”

Six of South Africa's seven able-bodied track and field medallists at the Glasgow Games, including Commonwealth champions Cornel Fredericks (400m hurdles) and Khotso Mokoena (triple jump), will turn out at the five-day championships in Marrakech.

Andre Olivier, who was third in the men's 800m final in Glasgow, had initially made himself available but withdrew after repeated changes were made to the provisional squad.

South Africa will aim to regain the overall continental title they won at the 2008 African Championships in Addis Ababa, after finishing third in the medals table behind Nigeria and Kenya at the last two editions of the continental showpiece. – Sapa

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