Updated 23 July 2008
Justine ROBBESON, South Africa (Javelin)
Born 15 May 1985, Benoni
1.70m / 65kg
North-West University (PUK) Athletics Club, Potchefstroom
Coach: Terseus Liebenberg
Justine Robbeson is a dedicated and highly intelligent student doing a BSc degree in nutrition and human movement. So, being a true academic it is a serious concern for Robbeson that she is already in her fifth year but is still without her degree. This can only be attributed to the fact that she has had so much travelling to do to further her career as an athlete.
Robbeson aims to finish her degree study in 2009, having to date completed 37 subjects – 31 with distinction – with three to go. She attends North-West University, Potchefstroom, where she is also a member of the athletics club and is coached by the highly respected and successful Terseus Liebenberg. Earlier, this youngest of four children (two brothers and a sister) was a proud scholar at Springs Girls’ High School, east of Johannesburg.
Following her versatility in athletics and other sports like softball, hockey and swimming, it came as no surprise when Robbeson won the Heptathlon at the 2004 World Junior Championships, in Grosseto, Italy. Neither was it unexpected that she had selected the javelin as her main and future event. She has not regretted that decision and admits that she should have done so perhaps in 2001 after her second place in the javelin at the World Youth Championships, in Debrecen, Hungary. She accepts, though, that the Heptathlon events gave her a better grounding.
Other special moments for Robbeson include her third place in the javelin in the 2006 World Cup, in Athens, and her two African records, set in Kuortane, Finland (62.80 in 2006) and Potchefstroom (63.49 in 2008).
Almost inevitably for an athlete, Robbeson has had a few setbacks through untimely injuries and minor operations (two) but she has a very proud record in international events. Her proudest is that, since starting her international career in 2001, she has returned home with at least one medal every year from each championship meeting.
Her future aims? To win an Olympic medal is the dream of all athletes and she is no exception, although reaching the final in Beijing would be a great achievement. At 23, still “very young,” her main target is the 2012 Olympic Games in London, by which time she hopes to record regular distances of 65 to 68m and return with a medal.
In Beijing, Robbeson expects a battle for gold between Barbora Spotakova, from the Czech Republic, and Christina Obergföll, from Germany, with the latter perhaps having the better chance. Her role model is Frankie Fredericks, Namibia’s prolific Olympic and World Championships medal-winning sprinter. “He is always friendly, modest and humble, and has the interests of athletes at heart,” she says.
Javelin: 63.49 (2008)
Heptathlon: 5868 (2004)
Other Heptathlon events: 200m - 24.83 (2003); 800m - 2:17.19 (2003); 100m Hurdles - 13.56 (2004); High Jump - 1.78 (2003); Long Jump - 6.26 (2002), Shot - 13.15 (2007).
Javelin: 1999 - 43.30; 2000 - 45.51; 2001 - 52.16; 2002 - 54.17; 2003 – 51.42; 2004 - 55.82; 2005 - 59.46; 2006 - 62.80; 2007, 62.51; 2008, 63.49.
Heptathlon: 2002 - 5380; 2003 - 5761; 2004 - 5868.
2001 2nd World Youth Championships (Javelin)
2002 2nd World Schools Gymnasiade (Long Jump)
2003 2nd All Africa Games (Heptathlon)
2003 2nd 1st Afro Asian Games (Heptathlon)
2004 1st World Junior Championships (Heptathlon)
2005 2nd World Student Games (Javelin)
2006 1st African Championships (Javelin)
2006 3rd World Cup (Javelin)
2006 2nd African Students’ Championships (Javelin)
2007 1st All Africa Games (Javelin)
Prepared by Gert le Roux for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008