Former world 800m champion and Olympic silver medallist has died aged 34

South Africa’s 2009 world 800m champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi has died at the age of 34 in a car accident.

The middle-distance runner won Commonwealth gold in Manchester in 2002 before claiming Olympic silver in Athens in 2004 when he was the flag bearer for his nation.

He ran his 800m best of 1:42.86 in Rieti in 2009, the same year in which he claimed his world title in Berlin.

Mulaudzi won nine national 800m titles, his last being claimed in 2012, before he retired in 2013 after racing competitively for the last time at the New York Diamond League meeting.

“The nation has lost a true hero and one of our most disciplined and talented athletes who flew the South African flag across the sporting globe,” said South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma.

“We wish to convey, on behalf of government and the entire country, our heartfelt condolences to his family, ASA (Athletics South Africa), the South African sports fraternity and the International Olympics Committee. May his soul rest in peace.”