Ex-world 800m champion Mulaudzi dies in auto crash

Ex-world 800m champion Mulaudzi dies in auto crash

Friday, October 24, 2014 8:17 pm

Former world 800-metre champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi died Friday aged 34 in a car crash, South African sports minister Fikile Mbalula announced.

The minister said in a statement that he did not know where the crash occurred. Mulaudzi’s agent, Peet van Zyl, confirmed the death.

Mbulaeni Mulaudzi: dies

Mbulaeni Mulaudzi: dies

“Sports minister Fikile Mbalula has just received the sad news of the untimely death of South African 800m icon Mbulaeni Mulaudzi,” his office said.

“Mulaudzi was one of the most decorated track athletes that South Africa has seen and, unfortunately, never had the recognition for his achievements, so it’s indeed a sad day,” said Van Zyl.

Global athletics body IAAF said in a statement it was “deeply saddened” to learn of the death of Mulaudzi.

Mulaudzi was the surprise winner of the 2009 world championships 800m title in Berlin and retired from athletics last year.

His death triggered immediate reaction from two star South African athletes — 2012 Olympics women’s 800m silver medalist Caster Semenya and 2008 Olympics long jump silver medalist Khotso Mokoena.

“Just lost a brother, a friend, a very good friend,” tweeted Semenya. “May your soul rest in peace. I love you man, will always love you CHAMP.”

Mokoena tweeted: “I have lost a brother, a friend, a champion. Sad news to my soul. Will miss you my brother. RIP. Death be not proud,”

Mulaudzi rose to prominence when only 19 by taking 800m silver at the African senior championships.

He carried the South African flag at the 2004 Athens Olympics opening ceremony and soon after his Berlin triumph set a personal best 800m time of 1:42.86 in central Italy.

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