Cabinet congratulates athletes

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cape Town - Cabinet has congratulated the three South African athletes who clinched medals at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in Berlin, Germany.

"Caster Semenya, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, and Khotso Mokwena have made South Africans very proud," said government spokesperson Themba Maseko on Thursday.

They collectively lifted South Africa to top 10 on the medals table at the conclusion of the championships.

South Africans have rallied behind the team especially Caster after the international athletics federation IAAF last week in Berlin called for her to undergo a gender verification test.

"A special word of congratulations goes to Caster Semenya, whom President Zuma referred to as the 'golden girl' for silencing her critics by winning gold against all odds," said Mr Maseko.

"Her achievement, especially during Women's Month, will serve to inspire millions of women, young and old, in South Africa and the rest of the developing world, to reach for the skies against all odds."

The team received a heroes welcome when they touched down in Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday.

The President, who met the medallists on Tuesday, said claims that South Africa's 800m women's world champion Caster was not a woman were wrong and ill-spirited.

"Miss Semenya had also reminded the world of the importance of the right to human dignity and privacy which should be enjoyed by all human beings," he said.

The medallists visited Nelson Mandela yesterday at his offices in Houghton, Johannesburg