Cyril Ramaphosa hails Brad Binder for lifting South African spirits

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Brad Binder
Brad Binder
AFP

The stunning Czech MotoGP triumph of South African rookie Brad Binder at the weekend did not go unnoticed in the highest office in the African state.

READ | Against all odds: Brad Binder’s lonely, winding road into the MotoGP history books

Reacting to the victory in central Europe by the 24-year-old in only his third elite division race, President Cyril Ramaphosa said Binder had made all South Africans proud.

"We share in his elation and look forward to his long and successful career at the top of his sport," said the 67-year-old leader.

"His victory in the Czech Grand Prix provides us with inspiration, hope and pride and lifts South African spirits at a time we need this."

Binder, who was born in university town Potchefstroom 120 kilometres southwest of Johannesburg, became the first South African to win a MotoGP race.

He was the first rookie to triumph in the premier class since 2013 and now moves to Austria for two events at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on 16 and 23 August.

Before his success in the Czech Republic, Binder had finished 13th in the Spanish GP and did not finish in the Andalusia GP this season.

His win in Brno lifted the morale of the most industrialised African nation as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic and an embattled economy.

There had been 559 858 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 disease in South Africa by late Sunday with 10 408 deaths.

Africa passed the one million infections mark last week and more than half were in South Africa.

Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria, is the current epicentre of the virus and measures to combat it include bans on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol.

The pandemic has hit hard at an already struggling economy and a spike in official unemployment figures to more than 30 percent has been widely predicted.

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