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South African swimmer Chad le Clos
Chad le Clos kept the South African flag flying with apodium performance on Thursday’s opening day of the World Short CourseChampionships in Abu Dhabi.
The former Olympic champion, who is still recovering from aknee injury, said before the start of the event he was hoping to “nick alittle bronze”, and he did just that, finishing third behind Italy’sAlberto Razzetti in the 200m butterfly.
After a great start, Le Clos led through the first 50m buthad dropped out of the top three by the turn at 100m and at 150m.
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He then edged ahead in the final 50m though to out-touchAmerican Trenton Julian for the bronze.
Razzetti took the gold in 1:49.06, with Switzerland’s NoePonti second in 1:49.81, while Le Clos took the bronze in 1:49.84.
That took the South African stalwart’s medal total at theWorld Short Course Championships to an incredible 16, dating back to his firstin 2010.
Meanwhile, Razzetti was thrilled with the result.
“It’s incredible, I’m speechless, it’s a great result,the time is incredible,” said the Italian, who recently claimed theEuropean short course title in the 200m butterfly in national record time.
“I was feeling so good today (Thursday), so I trieduntil the end, and I made it,” added the 22-year-old, who also added 200mindividual medley bronze to his haul later in the evening.
Le Clos had qualified second fastest for the 200m butterflyfinal after winning his morning heat in 1:50.63. He’s been entered in both the200m freestyle, and 100m butterfly heats on Friday morning.
The evening’s proceedings were highlighted by a world recordperformance, Siobhán Haughey claiming Hong Kong’s first-ever swimming worldtitle in the 200m freestyle in a blisteringly quick time of 1:50.31.
Along with the gold, the Olympic silver medallist alsocollected the US$50 000 cheque for breaking a world record.
Earlier in the day, another member of South Africa’s smallteam in Abu Dhabi, Michaela Pulford, finished ninth in her 200m freestyle heatin 2:03.67.
That meant she was 34th overall and did not progress to theevening final. The 17-year-old will be back in action in the 800m freestyleheats on Friday.