Did You Know Sunette Viljoen ()Did You Know Sunette Viljoen () © Copyright

Sunette Viljoen

If you're a shark, don’t mess with Olympic javelin silver medallist Sunette Viljoen. If you’re a human, you should be fine.

1. Boxing has brought out the best in me

“I am always looking at new ways in which I can improve as an athlete. At the end of the London Olympic cycle, I decided to introduce boxing into my weekly training regime.

“I’d also been inspired by watching Muhammad Ali and the Rocky movies and I was impressed with how hard they trained. Each week I will box with my trainer – who holds up the pads – between nine to ten rounds of two minutes each.

“I found as a javelin thrower, I didn’t do anything as part of my training which really pushed my heart and lungs, but boxing definitely fulfils that goal. It has taken my fitness to a new level and improved my upper body strength. It is also helped my foot movement, which has helped my co-ordination and rhythm.

“Boxing has really helped my javelin. The way I box with force and speed helps my arm speed, which aids the release of the javelin. We all need to find that extra edge in training and, for me, boxing works well.”

2. I once caught a shark

“I remember being inspired to fly fish after watching the Brad Pitt movie A River Runs Through It. It looked so cool how they used to cast out and back again, the scene, the nature looked great.

“We too in South Africa are blessed by some wonderful scenery and when I get the chance, I like to fly fish in the river. It is very relaxing.

“It is great to fly fish after the first rains we get, it is beautiful. I also like to go deep sea fishing. I remember once knowing I’d caught something really big when the rod just bent. When I pulled it up, it was a one-metre long shark – which is the biggest thing I’ve ever caught.”

3. I’m neither tall nor scary

“I think people have an image of me on the runway and think I’m both tall and scary, but I’m neither! When people see me they often comment ‘I didn’t think you were that short’, but I am only 1.70m (5ft 6ins).

“People often see me on the runway with my competitive game face on and think I’m a bit scary. I think they are surprised when they meet me to find I am a very bubbly and spontaneous character. I like to joke.

“I am very friendly with all my rivals and I’ve made many friends around the world in the sport of athletics.”