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OSAKA - South Africa finished without a medal at the 11th IAAF World Athletics Championships in Osaka last night after their highly tipped medal hopeful Mbulaeni Mulaudzi finished seventh in the 800m event.
This was the second time in a row that South Africans returned home empty-handed.
The country's other hopes of a medal were also blown away when young outsider Robert Oosthuizen could not make it to the medals table after he came sixth in the javelin event.
Mulaudzi, who was shown the exit in the semifinals of the 10th edition of the championships in Helsinki two years ago, registered a time of 1min:47,52sec.
Alfred Kirwa Yego from athletics powerhouse Kenya took home a gold medal when he won the race in 1:47,09. Gary Reed of Canada took silver after he finished a second later. Third place went to Russian Yuriy Borzakovsiy (1:47,39).
Speaking to Sowetan from his hotel room last night, Mulaudzi said he was disappointed for failing to win a medal.
"It was not my day today [yesterday] and there is nothing that I could have done to win," he said. "But it is not the end of the road for me. I will bounce back."
Oosthuizen, on the other hand, threw his personal best of 84,52m in his first throw.
But his effort was not good enough to finish in the medals as Tero Pitkamaki of Finland scooped gold with 90,33 on his sixth throw amid rapturous applause.
Norwegian Andreas Thorkildsen and American Breaux Greer went to the medals podium after finishing second and third, respectively.
Thorkildsen threw 88,61, while Greer posted an 86,21.
"I'm still young and I felt honoured to have reached the final today," said the 20-year-old Oosthuizen last night.
The 2006 World Junior Championships gold medallist said an ankle injury hampered his effort in the final.