Tokyo Olympics

Devastated Chad le Clos on Tokyo Olympics exit: 'I don't know what to say'

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South African swimmer Chad le Clos
South African swimmer Chad le Clos
Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

A visibly devastated Chad le Clos was lost for words as he bombed out of the Tokyo Olympics in the men's 100m butterfly heats on Thursday.

Le Clos finished a disappointing sixth as he touched the wall in 51.89 seconds in his heat at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

It was the 29-year-old's final event of this year's Games after finishing fifth in the 200m butterfly final on Wednesday.

In the 100m butterfly, Le Clos hadn't gotten off to a hot start as Bulgaria's Josif Miladinov (51.28) and Luis Carlos Martinez (51.29) took first and second place.

Only the top 16 secured their place in Friday's 100m semi-final, with Le Clos finishing 18th fastest - missing the semi-final by a considerable margin.

Moments after being eliminated in the 100m butterfly, a visibly distraught Le Clos walked out into the press zone and appeared heartbroken.

"I don't know, it's tough," said a visibly distraught Le Clos.

"I can't make excuses, I lost to fair and square to everyone else... I don't know what to say. It's devastating."

Le Clos, South Africa's most decorated Olympian, boasts gold medal and three silvers from the 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Olympics.

This is his third Olympic Games and despite facing tough opponents, Le Clos was hoping to reach the podium in Tokyo.

At the 2024 Paris Games, Le Clos will be 32-years-old. When asked whether this will be his last Olympics, he simply replied: "I'll be back, I'll win this in 2024."

Le Clos was one of South Africa's flag bearers at last week's opening ceremony.

*Lynn Butler is in Tokyo covering the Olympic Games for Sport24

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