S Africa Celebrates First Olympics Gold Medal Since 2004

S Africa Celebrates First Olympics Gold Medal Since 2004. Photo: AFP Sports minister Fikile Mbalula on Sunday night lauded South Africa’s first Olympics gold medal since 2004.

“We are now counted among the best in the world,” Mbalula said in a statement late on Sunday night.

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.

“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.

There was immense pressure on Van der Burgh as the country looked for redemption of sorts from the nadir of the 2008 Beijing Games when they returned with just one silver medal.

Van der Burgh, a 24-year-old finance student from Pretoria Univeristy, led from start to finish to win the final in 58.46 seconds and smash the world record for the second time in as many days.

South African Olympic chief Gideon Sam has promised the country 12 medals from the 2012 Games — a wildly optimistic boast according to leading sports writers.

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