Le Clos sneaks into final

2012-08-02 00:00

CHAD le Clos secured his fourth final of the Olympic Games in the 200 metres individual medley last night.

Delayed by the doping tests and the buzz of a sleepless night after his win in the 200 metres butterfly, he switched to work mode on arriving at the pool for the second semi-final.

“When I arrive at the pool I make a switch. I’ve been practising it — I see the rings — right this is it, no more fun and games,” he said.

American duo Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps had set the pace in the first semi with Lochte posting 1:56,13 and Phelps almost a second adrift.

Holding his own with Hungarian Laszio Cseh for the first 50 metres Le Clos dropped to third at 100 metres and then to sixth with the breaststroke, but recovered to tie with Britain’s James Goddard for fifth in a new personal best of 1:58,49 and lanes one and eight in the final.

“I’m just relieved. I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I sneaked in.

“Obviously I’m going for another medal [in all the finals].

“But the 200 fly was my only real chance on paper.

“The 100 metres tomorrow is going to be a lot tougher, but I’ll give them a run for their money, I’m not going to sit back,” said the 20-year-old, who confirmed that he slept wearing the medal as he still didn’t have the box to put it in.

It’s now securely locked away by Graham Hill, his coach.

Earlier in the evening, Suzaan van Biljon gave South Africans more to cheer about when she placed third behind Rebecca Soni in the second semi-final of the 200 metres breaststroke.

Soni got the crowd to their feet with a world record 2:20,00.

Japan’s Satomi Suzuki was sandwiched between the pair, while Rikke Pedersen and Russian Luliia Efimova pushed Van Biljon, who reduced the African record to 2:23,21, back to fifth in the combined rankings.

On land, South African cyclist Ashleigh Moolman finished 24th out of 24 riders in the women’s individual time trial event, in a time of 42:23,57.

Moolman finished nearly five minutes behind American rider Kristin Armstrong who won gold and defended her 2008 Beijing time trial title.

SA’s beach volleyball team of Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt were beaten by the Polish pair of Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek,

21-19 and 21-13, in their final match, bringing an end to their Olympic campaign.

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