- Associated Press - Sunday, July 18, 2010

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - A week after the World Cup, South African leaders are basking in Louis Oosthuizen’s overwhelming victory at the British Open.

Minister of Sport Makhenkesi Stofile and the country’s ruling party lauded Oosthuizen for his seven-stroke victory at St. Andrews on Sunday, saying he has strengthened the nation’s sports credentials.

Oosthuizen (WUHST-hy-zen) won on the same day South Africa celebrated the 92nd birthday of former president Nelson Mandela. South Africa, the successful host to soccer’s first World Cup in Africa, has said it will bid to bring the Olympics to Africa for the first time in 2020.

Oosthuizen’s triumph also follows the winning return of South African runner Caster Semenya.

This “shows that we are not just champion hosts,” Stofile said.

Semenya, the 800-meter world champion, won her second consecutive comeback race in Finland on Sunday after being cleared by track’s governing body to return to competition following gender tests. Semenya won her first comeback race Thursday, having not run competitively since capturing the world title in Berlin last August.

The African National Congress said Oosthuizen underlined that South Africans can win on the world stage.

“This shows that besides hosting soccer and cricket international tournaments successfully, we are an excelling sporting nation,” ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said. “Louis Oosthuizen’s victory shows clearly that South Africa has the capacity to do other things and do them successfully. We are really proud of his performance.”