Silver Bullet only wants gold

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, South Africa's medal hopeful at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan, is a happy man now that he has peaked at the right time.

"This is the opportune time for me to win gold at the World Athletics Championships once and for all," said Mulaudzi yesterday.

The last time the athlete known as "Silver Bullet" won a medal at the World Athletics Championships was when he finished third in Paris in 2003.

He bombed out in the semifinals in Helsinki, Finland, two years ago where Team South Africa came back empty-handed.

"I'm in the process of wrapping up my training and everything is going according to plan to date," said Mulaudzi from Osaka.

"The plan is a simple one, take each race as it comes with the focus on reaching the final. Once I'm in the final, the target will be gold.

"I have enough silver and bronze medals, there is no space anymore in my cabinet ant home in Johannesburg for them.

"I'm excited that I started peaking at the right time, just a few weeks ahead of the championships here in Japan. The European season was great for me.

"I did not do pretty well on home soil because of injuries, the other problem is that I still a bit rusty after a long lay-off.

"It will be foolish for me to expect that it will be easy, all the big names are to compete," said Mulaudzi, winner of a silver medal at the recent All Africa Games.

The World Athletics Championships in Japan gets under way on Sunday, but Mulaudzi will only be seen in action on Thursday when the 800m eliminations start.

Mulaudzi, who also won silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics, is ranked number one in his speciality event in the world.

Leonard Chuene, Athletics South Africa president, said: "We have brought a lot of youngsters here, they are eager to make an impression on their debut.

"There are no tourists in the team, the track records of all members are well documented and we are looking forward to getting more medals.

"We are also using the championships to expose the majority of our youngsters to international competition."

Some of the big names who will be on display in Osaka include Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, Wilfred Bungei of Kenya, South Africans Hendrick Ramaala and Khotso Mokoena, Asafa Powell of Jamaica and Sheena Johnson of the United States.