Le Clos to try secure 'gifted' gold in Gold Coast

Chad le Clos in action in the Men's 50m Butterfly during day 1 of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at on April 05, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.
Chad le Clos in action in the Men's 50m Butterfly during day 1 of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at on April 05, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.
Image: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images

Chad Le Clos will on Friday night try to secure the Commonwealth Games gold medal he was potentially gifted when the 50m butterfly favourite was disqualified in Thursday’s heats.

England’s defending champion Ben Proud was quickest over the single lap in the open-air pool here by far‚ but he was adjudged to have false started‚ leaving the South African star in pole position.

Le Clos has a busy night in store in Gold Coast on Friday‚ also hunting the 200m freestyle gold as well as a medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay.

Three gongs in one night would be one heck of a return; two of them gold would be awesome.

“You could say I’m probably a slight favourite [in the 50m ’fly]‚” said Le Clos‚ who was quickest in the one-lapper in both the heats and semifinals‚ touching in 23.53sec on both occasions.

“If I can get on top of the podium it will be great‚ but I’ve got a big 200m freestyle 10 minutes later after that.”

Also in the 50m ’fly mix is countryman Ryan Coetzee‚ an accounting student in Tennessee who clocked a 23.79 personal best for the joint second-fastest time overall alongside Australia’s Grant Irvine.

“That was a great swim by Ryan‚” said Le Clos.

“It’s quite funny because we did some time trials‚ five‚ six days ago and he kicked my ass in all of them … if we can both be on the podium tomorrow that would be great.”

This would be the second Games in a row where SA have two swimmers medal in the 50m ’fly‚ after third-placed Le Clos and now-retired Roland Schoeman at Glasgow 2014.

Coetzee admitted he had been nervous in the morning‚ but competing in the lane next to Le Clos in the semifinal had helped calm his nerves‚ especially after the hours they spent training together recently.

In the 200m freestyle‚ Le Clos‚ the Olympic silver medallist in this event‚ will go up against Englishman James Guy‚ third in the 400m on Thursday night behind Australia’s winner‚ Olympic champion Mack Horton.

Le Clos‚ Coetzee and Henri Schoeman’s triathlon gold‚ which lifted SA to joint fifth on the medals table‚ were among the few highlights for SA on the opening day of the Games.

Elsewhere there were mixed results.

On the positive side‚ Tatjana Schoenmaker made the 50m breaststroke final‚ a good sign ahead of her premier 200m event.

And on the bowling greens‚ Colleen Piketh‚ the singles bronze medallist four years ago‚ won her opening match 21-13 against Catherine Beattie of Northern Ireland‚ the men’s pairs edged Wales 17-15 and the women’s fours beat Zambia 17-10.

But the men’s trips crashed 6-22 to Wales and the mixed pairs were hammered 3-26 by Australia.

The open triples and women’s fours both tied their matches‚ against England and Norfolk Island respectively.

The women’s hockey team went down 0-2 to England and the men fell 2-4 to Scotland.

The men’s and women’s 4000m team pursuit cycling teams were unable to advance beyond qualifying‚ and the mixed badminton side slid to a 0-5 defeat at the hands of Australia.

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