Updated 27 July 2008
Robert OOSTHUIZEN, South Africa (Javelin)
Born 23 January 1987, Bloemfontein
1.88m / 101kg
Matie Athletics Club, Stellenbosch
Coach: Johan Oosthuizen (father)
With spectacular improvement every year, Robert Oosthuizen is considered a genuine world star in the making. His career has been something of a fairytale since his first global exposure at the 2003 World Youth Championships, in Sherbrooke, Canada, where he led until the last round when Brazilian Júlio César de Oliveira snatched the gold medal by a mere 9cm.
Oosthuizen underwent elbow surgery in 2004 that held him back for some time but he came into his own at the 2006 World Junior Championships, in Beijing, with a brilliant victory. In so doing he recorded 83.07, a South African junior, African junior, and Championship record.
Progress really began in 2005. Oosthuizen’s first ever throw with the 800gm javelin was at a schools meeting at his home town of Malmesbury, where he started with 69 metres. At the national senior championships, shortly afterwards, he recorded 71.48 for a bronze medal. He missed the national juniors that year but, in September, he went to the African Junior Championships, in Radès, Tunisia, where he threw 75.94, winning easily.
Five months later, an impressive second place at the national senior championships and trials for the Commonwealth Games followed, with an improvement to 79.43 that earned a berth in the South Africa team for Melbourne. There he finished fifth (78.32). After a warm-up meeting in Windhoek, for the World Juniors in July, which he won with 77.36, his next stop was his first visit to Beijing. And there, in China, he became the third South African since 1994 to win the global junior gold medal as well as the world’s third best junior of all time.
The other two South African winners were Marius Corbett (1994), who became World senior champion in 1997, and Hardus Pienaar (2000). Prior to Osaka (2007) Oosthuizen won the All Africa Games title, in Algiers, and more brilliance followed in Japan. There he finished sixth with the second longest throw on the All Time lists by a South African-born athlete. It was achieved in the opening round when he slightly twisted his ankle with a throw of 84.52 that made him the early leader.
The 2008 Olympic year started in style, with another personal best of 86.80, but a further minor setback occurred when he had to have a small growth removed from his left ankle, which led to him missing the African Championships. He joined the European circuit in the Rome Golden League event with a solid 81.54 but then encountered some technique problems.
Oosthuizen’s father and coach, Johan, will accompany him to a pre-OIympic training camp in Korea and both are confident that he will be ready in China.
In 1990, shortly after the current javelin was introduced, Johan became the second South African to surpass 80m with a throw of 80.92. Robert’s younger brother Albert (19) is also a javelin thrower and mother, Jeanne, a loyal and dedicated supporter.
Robert, enrolled as an external a Bachelor of Commerce student, is a keen angler but he hopes to continue with athletics for many years to come. His main aim is to continue improving his distances as many times as possible.
Javelin: 86.80 (2008)
Javelin: 2005 - 75.94; 2006 - 83.07; 2007 - 84.52; 2008 - 86.80.
2003 2nd World Youth Championships
2005 1st African Junior Championships
2006 1st World Junior Championships
2007 1st All Africa Games
2007 6th World Championships
Prepared by Gert le Roux for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008