Sunette Viljoen won Team SA’s ninth medal with a throw of 64.92 metres.
Sunette Viljoen’s Olympic silver medal in the javelin on Thursday night (Friday morning, SA time) means she can finally move on from the disappointment of finishing fourth in London four years ago.
On that dreadful day, Viljoen watched on as Germany’s Linda Stahl moved into the bronze medal position with her final throw, pushing Viljoen out of the medals.
But on Thursday night Viljoen made sure that she would have her moment on an Olympic podium.
Her very first throw of 64.92m was her best, and for a while it looked it would be enough to bag gold.
But it was not to be.
Croatia’s Sara threw 66.18m to win, but Viljoen was thrilled with the result nonetheless as she celebrated at the Olympic Stadium with the South African flag wrapped around her neck.
Finally the memories of London have been laid to rest.
“I feel so overwhelmed. I was so close to the gold medal … it was right there until the end,” she said afterwards.
“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’s success came on the same day that Henri Schoeman won bronze in the triathlon.
Team SA’s medal haul now stands at nine – one gold, six silver and two bronze.