Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa celebrates winning the world 800m title (© Getty Images)
With a run as determined as it was thrilling, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa triumphed in the wildly unpredictable men’s 800m.
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 global outdoor 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 USA's 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 maintained his form 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