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24 Aug 2009 07:57
Mbulaeni Mulaudzi won South Africa’s second gold medal on the final day of the World Athletics Championships in Berlin on Sunday night.
Mulaudzi spent anxious minutes on Friday awaiting the outcome of the third semifinal as he had been shut out into fourth place in his own race.
The 29-year-old only qualified for the final as the second of two fastest losers, but it was a different man who took control of the race on Sunday.
Running from the outside lane he closed into the inside and dictated the pace, taking the field through the bell in 53,44 seconds, and then applied more pressure.
With 200m to go he upped the pace again and powered down the home straight.
Defending champion Alfred Yego and Yusuf Kamel were given identical times of 1:45,35 for silver and bronze respectively.
Mulaudzi, who already owns an Olympic silver medal, three world indoor medals—including one gold—and bronze from the 2003 World Athletics Championships in Paris, said the latest achievement was the crowning moment of his career.
“This is the most important medal for me,” he said on Sunday.
“Today I was brave enough to control the race and to change the gears in my own time.”
South Africa also picked up a silver in the long jump through Khotso Mokoena, although no other athletes reached the finals of their events.
The SA team finished ninth on the medals table. - Sapa
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