30 July 2012

South Africa: Athletes Are Among the Best in the World - Mbalula

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh wins Gold in the Men's 100 metre breaststroke.

Johannesburg — South Africa's first medal at the London Olympic Games has been lauded by sports minister Fikile Mbalula.

"We are now counted amongst the best in the world," Mbalula said in a statement late Sunday night.

Earlier in the evening, Cameron van der Burgh secured the gold medal in the men's 100m breaststroke, in a world record time, to leave the SA team in tied 13th place in the medals table after two days of competition.

Mbalula said he had spoken to Van der Burgh earlier in the week.

The swimmer had assured him the team would recover after Banyana Banyana lost their opening match of the women's football tournament on Wednesday.

"Cameron told me that what happened to Banyana in Coventry should not damper the country's spirit, as the South African flag will be raised high when he accepts the gold medal," Mbalula said.

"Indeed, today I was touched when he broke the world record."

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