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Chad picks up from where he left off
- Updated: August 1, 2012
Only a few hours after finally drifting off into the land of nod, Chad le Clos awoke to meet his first responsibility as the first man to beat Michael Phelps in the men’s 200m butterfly in 11 years. Off to the aquatic arena he went, writes Gary Lemke.
It came the morning after both he and his father became overnight YouTube sensations. Chad for his fingertip victory and celebration and father Bert for his emotional BBC television interview. But, it was back to normal on Wednesday morning.
Given the circumstances it was a virtual miracle that Le Clos was able to get his mind together and swim in the heats of the men’s 200m Individual Medley. That he managed to finish third in his heat and qualify for the evening’s semi-finals ÔÇô and go sub-two minutes with a 1:59.45 ÔÇô was equally mind-blowing.
Le Clos was competing in the third heat, along with fellow South African Darian Townsend and by the end of the third leg (the breaststroke) it all looked as if the heroics of the night before had caught up to him; he slipped to fifth and was in danger of missing out on the semis. No one would have chastised him for that.
However, displaying what the great Phelps referred to last night as the South African’s ÔÇ£hungerÔÇØ, he again dug deep down the final 50m freestyle stretch to claw his way back into┬á third spot behind Hungary’s Laszlo Cech and Britain’s James Goddard.
The world will be seeing more of Le Clos at these Olympics, starting with tonight, and they can’t get enough of him. He qualified 11th overall to slip into the semi-finals, though Townsend, a gold medallist from the Athens 2004 Games in the 4x100m freestyle, was unable to progress after his 2:00.67 left him 21st overall.
Also in action on Wednesday night will be Suzaan van Biljon who qualified ninth fastest overall from the morning’s heats ÔÇô she finished fourth in hers in a satisfying 2:25.94 ÔÇô after showing good early speed before settling in just off the pace set by the rising Japanese star Satomi Suzuki.
Nevertheless, Van Biljon has left herself in contention to reach tomorrow night’s final, but in the semi-finals she is going to have to give everything in her favoured event to get there.
Elsewhere there was disappointment for Darren Murray in his first Olympics. He timed 2:00.01 in the men’s 200m backstroke which left him 25th overall through the heats and out of contention for the semi-finals.