The IAAF is deeply saddened to learn of the death of 2009 world 800m champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, who died earlier today (24) in a car accident at the age of 34.
Born in Muduluni in September 1980 as the third in four children, Mbulaeni’s first taste of athletics success came when winning the 1999 African junior 800m title. His transition to the senior level was a smooth one and in 2000 at the age of 19 he took the silver medal at the senior African Championships.
One year later, he made his first World Championships final, finishing sixth in the 800m in Edmonton. In 2002 he took gold at the Commonwealth Games, the first of many championship medals for the South African.
Within the space of 12 months between 2003 and 2004, he won three global medals, one of each colour. First he took the bronze medal at the 2003 World Championships, then gold at the 2004 IAAF World Indoor Championships, followed a few months later by the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, where he was the flag bearer for South Africa.
Mulaudzi went on to win two more medals at the World Indoor Championships, taking silver in 2006 and 2008 and setting a national indoor record of 1:44.91 at the latter.
But 2009 was his most memorable year as he was the surprise winner of the 800m title at the World Championships in Berlin. Two weeks later, he set a PB of 1:42.86 in Rieti.
Although he didn’t compete at any other global championships after 2009, he continued to appear on the international circuit, winning at the Diamond League meeting in New York in 2010.
In 2012 he won his ninth national title over 800m, then in 2013 at the age of 32 he made his final competitive appearance, finishing fourth at the Diamond League meeting in New York.