Javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen fights ministers for her Olympic reward using Twitter

South African javelin champion and Olympic silver medallist Sunette Viljoen has not been on the best of terms with her country’s sports administrators in the past, but Twitter has today confirmed that she is right to be upset with those in power.

The athlete posted a screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation that she had with South African Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, over Olympic prize money that was promised to her but has as yet not been paid.

The 33-year-old athlete claims that she is still owed money that was set aside as prizemoney for medal winning performances at Rio 2016. Viljoen won a silver medal in the women’s javelin throw.


Viljoen made use of Twitter provide proof of a text conversation that took place between her and Mbalula in which she requested that the minister pay her an outstanding amount of R70 000 that was allocated to silver medal winners, and which she says has not yet been paid to her.

Mbalula replied to the request by stating: ‘You said you don’t need it, So I stick with your wishes’. He is therefore stating that she will not be paid the money, as per her ‘wishes’, which the African javelin champion denies ever expressing.

‘Never, ever uttered these words. This is how you are treated for winning an Olympic medal. What a total disgrace. Always doing it on my own,’ Viljoen said via her official Twitter account.


Twitter has reacted to the proof by lambasting the minister and telling him to pay what is due to the Olympian. The minister has defended himself by going on the offensive, claiming that Viljoen is thankless and harasses him for the money.

‘Sunette Viljoen is the most arrogant and thankless person let alone being an athlete, I’ve ever met,’ he said on his official Twitter handle.

The debacle appears to be the result of a personal vendetta that the sports minister has with Viljoen, as the two have never seen eye to eye. The public pressure from Twitter and the media after this latest exchange between the two could prove the push needed for Viljoen to receive her prizemoney, once and for all.

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