Le Clos, Van Biljon through to the finals
STILL wincing from his gutsy gold medal swim the night before, Chad le Clos last night only just sneaked into the 200m individual medley final at the Olympics.
Suzaan van Biljon, on the other hand, broke Penny Heyns's 13-year-old African record in the 200m breaststroke as she clocked 2 minutes 23.21 seconds to qualify fifth-fastest overall for tonight's final.
But Le Clos, struggling after getting little sleep, looked pedestrian against a tough field that included last night's victims Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, but the truth is that he cracked a 1:58.49 personal best - the joint-slowest time of the eight-strong line-up alongside Briton James Goddard.
Lochte was quickest in 1:56.13, ahead of Laszlo Cseh (1:56.74) and Phelps (1:57.11).
"I'm relieved, I didn't think I was going to make it," Le Clos said. "Physically today has been really hard. I got back (to his room in the Olympic village) at 2am and I couldn't sleep until 3.30am. I woke up at 6am and I had to go for a walk."
Le Clos, who will also race in the 100m butterfly today, said the 200m IM was a better medal chance for him. "I'll try to get another medal. I'll give them a run for their money."
- In the only medal contest involving a South African yesterday, Ashleigh Moolman finished last in the women's cycling time trial, where English superhero Bradley Wiggins won gold in the men's race.
The British finally won some golds yesterday, overtaking South Africa on the medals table in the process. SA's other chance for silverware today is in the rowing, where the men's lightweight coxless fours will take on Britain and other strong crews, including Australia, Denmark and Switzerland.
In another action yesterday, SA's hockey men so nearly downed hosts Britain in their Olympic showdown, but in the end they had to settle for a controversial 2-2 draw. SA's badminton doubles team of Michelle Edwards and Annari Viljoen, who found themselves in the quarterfinals after four teams were disqualified from the Games after trying to lose matches, were eliminated by Russia's Valeria Sorokina and Nina Vislova 21-9 21-7.