SA's Mbulaeni gets gold

Monday, August 24, 2009

Berlin - South Africa's Mbulaeni Mulaudzi added to the country's great showing at the 12th International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships on Sunday, by clinching gold in his 800m men's final.

Mbulaeni emulated Caster Semenya's feat in the women's 800 metres by winning gold in the men's race, while long jumper Khotso Mokoena took silver, to lift South Africa into the top 10 on the medals table at the conclusion of the championships.

Mbulaeni led from start to finish in the race, clocking 1:45.29, with defending champion and Olympic bronze medallist Alfred Yego of Kenya claiming silver and newly-crowned world 1 500m champion Yusuf Saad Kamel of Bahrain, getting bronze.

The result meant the Kenyan-born Kamel failed to repeat his father Billy Konchellah's feat of winning the world 800m crown.

Khotso won a silver medal for his 8.47m jump. American Dwight Phillips, who was world champion in 2003 and 2005, regained his long jump title with a distance of 8.54m.

Meanwhile, Caster will return home tomorrow to a heroine's welcome.

Yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said South Africans must give the star a heroine's welcome when she returns to the country.

"To us, Caster is simply the best 800m woman World champion and must be given a heroine's welcome upon return to South Africa on Tuesday," the minister said in a statement.

"All of us South Africans, especially women, must rally around Caster and reject with the contempt it deserves the insinuations being made about her gender," she said, adding that Caster deserved the support of the nation against the "onslaught" waged against her.