Viljoen’s exit robs Team SA

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

South Africa’s medal chances at next month’s IAAF World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don took a sig­nif­i­cant dip at the week­end af­ter Rio Olympics javelin sil­ver medal­list Sunette Viljoen pulled out with in­jury.

Viljoen con­firmed the news via Twit­ter. The 33-year-old is a two-time bronze medal­list at World Cham­pi­onships, in 2013 and 2015, and called it the “most dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion I have had to make”, but did not spec­ify what the in­jury was.

Mean­while a roller­coaster week of emo­tion for 100m hur­dler Rikenette Steenkamp has ended on a def­i­nite downer as she has been forced to with­draw from the IAAF World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships that is start­ing in Lon­don on Fri­day.

She’s been forced to fol­low Viljoen’s de­ci­sion to with­draw from the South African team.

Steenkamp re­ceived a late in­vite from the IAAF to be part of the World Cham­pi­onships team but pulled up with a ham­string in­jury.

The 24-year-old Tukkies stu­dent, a na­tional 100-me­tre hur­dles cham­pion at every age-group level, told Team SA: ‘’I was busy train­ing, ac­tu­ally pre­par­ing for World Stu­dent Cham­pi­onships, not worlds.

“My sec­ond last run I felt it pull slightly. It’s not a se­vere in­jury but full re­cov­ery is very im­por­tant to me so I had to with­draw.

“The tim­ing is just heart-break­ing as I’ve had a great sea­son, ac­tu­ally it’s a mir­a­cle sea­son.

“Since Jan­uary to now I’ve per­formed be­yond my ex­pec­ta­tion, so I’m still smil­ing,” said Steenkamp.

“I haven’t de­cided yet on World Stu­dents [in Tai­wan]… I’ll give it a few days.”

Steenkamp is re­fus­ing to let her bad news get to her and re­mains stead­fastly be­hind her fel­low South Africans who are go­ing to Lon­don.

“I won’t fight what hap­pened and (I) un­der­stand that ev­ery­thing hap­pen­ing is hap­pen­ing for a pur­pose. I’ll give my body the rest it needs.”

In­vited by the IAAF to the Worlds’ along with Steenkamp is dis­cus throw­erVic­tor Ho­gan.

The pair were in­vited by the global body to par­tic­i­pate in their spe­cial­ist events af­ter be­ing se­lected to fill ‘quo­tas’ in or­der to com­plete the fields in th­ese re­spec­tive dis­ci­plines.

Ho­gan is rapidly find­ing form af­ter re­cently hav­ing come out of sus­pen­sion for test­ing pos­i­tive for an il­le­gal stim­u­lant.

But there’s still no news on dis­tance track ace Do­minique Scott who was con­tro­ver­sially left out of the team de­spite meet­ing the IAAF qual­i­fi­ca­tion cri­te­ria, which would see her ad­vanc­ing di­rectly to the fi­nal of the 10 000m as it’s a no-heats event.

Ad­di­tional re­port­ing ANA

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