Le Clos wants to show SA a lack of money and facilities is no excuse

2014-02-13 00:00

CAPE TOWN — South Africa’s Olympic gold medal swimmer Chad le Clos wants to become the most celebrated Commonwealth sportsman of all time.

That’s why he is not too worried about his recent performance at the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series in Perth.

Le Clos won three medals in Australia — gold, silver and bronze — but he surprised everyone by not winning the 200 m butterfly.

“I have mixed emotions on my achievements in Australia,” said Le Clos yesterday at the launch of the General Nutrition Corporation in SA.

He said the South African swimming team were busy with an intensive exercise programme, which made it difficult for them to reach their peak in Perth. For him it was more like a warm-up meeting for the year ahead.

He said it was no secret that he liked to win, but congratulated the swimmers who beat him this time.

Le Clos said his focus was on peaking in time for the Commonwealth Games which take place in Glasgow, Scotland, from July 32 to August 3.

Next week sees him flying to the Winter Olympics in Russia, not to swim, but to be a spectator at the ice hockey finals.

Then he will return to continue his training in sunny South Africa to be ready for the qualifiers for the Commonwealth Games.

“I want to become the most celebrated Commonwealth sportsman of all time, so I must win five or six gold medals. That will be the best performance yet by a South African, so that is what I am aiming for.

“My programme is now very busy. For me to fly for the day to [Cape Town] means I am missing a day’s practice. It may not sound like much, but for me this means I am now six hours behind my competitors [in training].”

Le Clos said his long-term goal is to become the best swimmer in the world. “I don’t only want to be the best butterfly swimmer, but I also want to be the best in the individual medley and freestyle. I want to show South Africa and young children that you don’t need to be afraid of other countries just because they have more money or facilities.

“I want to make us one of the best swimming countries in the world.”

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