June 10, 2014  

Supplied by Tracy Abrahams from WPA
For the fourth time in a row javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen has been selected as South Africa’s Female Athlete of the Year by the SA Athletics Statisticians (SAAS). Her male counterpart, who graces the cover of the 2014 edition of the NWU-Puk SA Athletics Annual, is Johan Cronje, who won the bronze medal in the 1500 metres at last year’s World Championships in Moscow.
The Annual, the 62nd in the series and one of the oldest publications of its kind in the world, has just been published by the SAAS.
Viljoen, who received all the votes but one cast by members of the SAAS for Athlete of the Year after finishing sixth in the World Championships, also was voted the country’s top athlete in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Like Viljoen, Cronje garnered all the votes except one. He ran two SA records during the year, 3:33.46 and 3:31.93, was ninth on the world list and was ranked ninth by the authoritative US magazine Track & Field News (TFN).
The other male nominees for the award were Zarck Visser, South Africa’s highest-placed athlete on the world lists for 2013, and Elroy Gelant, the double (12 km and 4 km) cross-country champion who was 20th in the World Championships 12 km event.
Viljoen was sixth on the world list with her 64.51 m in the Moscow final and was ranked fifth by TFN. The other nominees were Linique Prinsloo, Caster Semenya and Carla Marais.
Visser’s performance of 8.32 m in the long jump placed him fifth on the world list and he therefore receives the Beinart Merit Award for 2013. The award, which commemorates the late Harry Beinart, a founder member and President of the SAAS, is made annually to the highest placed athlete on the world performance lists in an IAAF-recognised track event. The first award was made in 1983.
Two other South Africans made the top ten on the world list in their event: Khotso Mokoena (7th in the long jump) and Semenya (10th in the 800 m).
Eight others found themselves between tenth and 20th: Willem Coertzen (12th in the decathlon), Cornel Fredericks and Prinsloo (14th in the 400 m hurdles and long jump respectively), Victor Hogan (18th in the discus throw), while Anaso Jobodwana (200 m), Wayde Van Niekerk (400 m), André Olivier (800 m) and LJ van Zyl (400 hurdles) were all 19th.
The 62nd edition of the Annual, edited by Cobus Kok and Richard Mayer, is again brimming with information about everything that happened on the athletics scene in South Africa and the rest of the world in 2013.
The Annual contains both the annual lists of best performances by South Africans for 2013, as well as all-time lists. As usual, it also includes the Hall of Fame of the best of the best in the history of SA athletics; SA and all major international records; results of the most important local and international meetings; photographs of South Africa’s top athletes, and much more.
The Annual is dedicated to Gert le Roux, long-time Secretary of the SA Amateur Athletics Union and of the SAAS, member of the Executive Committee of the international Association of Track & Field Statisticians, and one of the world’s foremost athletics writers and statisticians. Le Roux passed away in 2013 and is lauded in the Annual as South African athletics’ “most knowledgeable expert, its most meticulous historian, its most experienced and thorough administrator, and one of its most passionate observers”.
Also included are obituaries of distance runner Ferdie le Grange and coach Magda Botha.
The SAAS selected hurdlers Tiaan Smith and world youth champion Helene Swanepoel as Junior Athletes of the Year, while Cronje’s coach, DB Prinsloo, receives the award of Coach of the Year.
Three articles analyse various aspects of SA athletics. Basie Koen looks at hammer throw development in the Vaal Triangle, Richard Mayer relates the country’s middle distance tradition in the light of Cronje’s achievements, and Wesley Botton examines the deterioration in the administration of SA athletics during 2013.
Copies of the Annual can be ordered for R100 (postage included) from the following address: SA Athletics Annual, P.O. Box 4475, Rivonia 2128. When ordering books, full postal details must be given. Enquiries (also previous annuals) can be made at the following numbers: 083 308-7525 (Richard) or 011 805-0272 (Cobus), or by e-mail from
In Cape Town the WPA office has copies available for R80.  Contact 021 699 0615 (Elize) or 021 699  0611 (Pearl), or by e-mail from or

Media release issued by the SA Athletics Statisticians. For more information, phone Riël Hauman at 021 948-0293, or send an e-mail to