'I surprised myself' says Jo-Ane van Dyk as she makes the Olympic team
South African Javelin starlet Jo-Ane Van Dyk is making waves as the next big athlete after surprising some by making the South African Olympic team. Van Dyk managed to book her ticket to Tokyo thanks to being ranked inside the top 32 athletes across the world. The 23-year-old Worcester born athlete is still in disbelief about her inclusion in Team SA.
"I'm so excited to book my place to the Olympics, it's a dream come true for me," said an elated Van Dyk during a telephonic interview. "But to tell the truth, I surprised myself by Qualifying because I didn't expect it at all. It's always on every athlete's mind to represent the country at the games so when my name was included it excited me a lot. And to make it via points system rather than automatic way is not for everyone and I'm grateful that my country decided to have faith in me," she said.
Having gone to Europe in search of better preparation for the African Championships, Van Dyk was gutted when the competition was cancelled because of Covid-19. But she dealt with that blow by throwing a personal best 61:19 during an athletics meeting in the Czech Republic on June 15.
"I went to Europe because I needed to Prepare for African games which got canceled," explains the University of North West BSc Biokinetics graduate. "Then I decided to try to qualify for the Olympics which paid off because I managed to threw a personal best. I even went on to compete in Finland, Switzerland to increase my points in the rankings."
The reigning SA Javelin champion says working Terseus Liebenberg, a renowned athletics coach who drove Sunette Viljoen to a silver medal in 2016 Rio has helped her improve tremendously. "Since our relationship started in 2016, I have grown so much as an athlete," explains the 2016 Youth World Championship silver medalist.
"He is a very experienced coach and one of the best in the business as he has worked with recognized athletes like Sunette. The work we have done together has been great so far. And going to the Olympics is just a great team effort as we both sacrificed a lot to reach this dream. My target is to finish inside the top 10 during the games," she concluded.