South African-born track star Zola Budd, in her most impressive victory of the season, won the women's mile at the Edinburgh Games yesterday despite swerving to avoid an anti-apartheid demonstrator.
Banners that read, "Edinburgh against apartheid" and "Zola Budd runs for apartheid," reportedly were erected by the Labor-controlled Edinburgh municipal authority. British television refused to televise the event live because of the banners.
During the race, which Budd won in 4 minutes 23.14 seconds to 4:27.97 for Irena Nikitini of the Soviet Union, a demonstrator carrying anti-apartheid leaflets ran on the track but was stopped before reaching Budd.
Budd said, "The demonstrator took me out of my rhythm and I had to take avoiding action, but it did not really upset me that much. People like that see me as a symbol of South Africa -- the best thing I can do is just keep on running.
"That was my best race of the season and the crowd were tremendous at the end. That's the best reception I've had."
Britain's Steve Cram, the world 1,500 meters record holder, won the 1,000 meters in 2:15.08, beating David Mack of the United States (2:16.90).
Steve Ovett of Britain held off U.S. runner Sydney Maree to win the men's mile in 3:55.01. Maree, closing at the tape, finished at 3:55.27. Other winners included U.S. triple jumper Willie Banks (55-4 1/4) and Soviet hammer thrower Yuri Sedykh (267-10).