Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa celebrates winning the men's IAAF World Championships' 800m (Getty Images) © Copyright
Running from the front for more than half the race, the 28-year-old South African held off the furious late race charge of nearly half the field to clock 1:45.29 and take home his first major title.
Mulaudzi, a former World champion indoors and the 2004 Olympic silver medallist, took control of the race from the break and never relented, although he encountered quite a bit of resistance.
He led at the bell (53.44), where he was pressured by American Nick Symmonds and Russian Yuriy Borzakovskiy, but held his ground, forcing Borzakovskiy, who beat him to gold at the Athens Games, to step back. He held his ground down the backstretch and into the turn, where others began to make their move. First it was Yusuf Saad Kamel who began to move up, with a surge similar to the one which propelled him to the 1500m title earlier this week. But to the extreme outside, it was defending champion Alfred Kirwa Yego who had the most power down the homestretch.
Beginning his kick in sixth place, the diminutive Kenyan first picked off the slowly fading Symmonds, then Moroccan Amine Laalou, then Borzakovskiy and finally edging Kamel by the narrowest of margins to capture the silver. Both were credited with 1:45.35.
But none were capable to take down the determined Mulaudzi today who finally added gold to his formidable war chest.
Borzakovskiy was fourth in 1:45.57, just ahead of Laalou (1:45.66) and Symmonds (1:45.71). European champion Bram Som, who was added to the field on appeal, was seventh (1:45.86).
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
- Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa celebrates winning the men's IAAF World Championships' 800m (Getty Images) © Copyright
- South Africa's Mbulaeni Mulaudzi celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 800m final at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics (Getty Images) © Copyright
- (L-R) Alfred Yego of Kenya, Yusuf Kamel of Bahrain and Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa cross the line in the men's 800m final in Berlin (Getty Images) © Copyright