Magnificent seven for Chad le Clos in Glasgow

30 July 2014

Chad le Clos claimed an individual bronze medal and added a further bronze as a member of the South African medley relay team at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Tuesday evening.

In the 200m individual medley final, Le Clos blasted out of the blocks, opening up a lead of more than a second after the butterfly leg. He still led at the halfway mark, after the backstroke, with fellow South African Sebastien Rousseau in second place.

Both, however, fell off the pace and out of the top three on the breaststroke leg.

Australia’s Daniel Tranter then stormed to victory in a Commonwealth Games’ record of 1:57.83, with Scotland’s Daniel Wallace finishing second in 1:58.72, just 13- hundredths-of-a-second ahead of Le Clos. Rousseau continued his tumble down the standings to finish in eighth place.

Medley relay

In the absence of a specialist backstroker, Rousseau was handed the position for the 4 x 100m medley relay. He had the South African team in sixth place when he handed over to Cameron van der Burgh for the breaststroke.

The Olympic champion improved South Africa’s standing by two places after recording a time of 59.40 seconds, the second best of the race, before Chad le Clos took over.

By the time the butterfly ace sent Leith Shankland on his way in the freestyle leg, le Clos had the South African team in third place with an advantage of 2.77 seconds on fourth place.

Shankland maintained his position to help secure the bronze medal behind England and Australia.

50m freestyle

Veteran Roland Schoeman finished sixth in the final of the 50m freestyle, seven- hundredths-of-a-second ahead of Brad Tandy, who placed seventh.

“Disappointing I need to figure things out,” the 34-year-old Schoeman said after his swim. “I was 22.0 about four or five weeks ago. That was the positive thing and it’s disappointing not being able to step up here and do it tonight.

“The challenge for us is that we need the funding and sponsorship to continue here [at this level]. What most people don’t understand is that it all hinges on swims like tonight. You are only as good as your last swim and for me trying to get to a fifth Olympics, it becomes increasingly harder not to come away with a medal.”

Myles Brown contested the final of the 1 500m freestyle, but was some way off his best form and came home in eighth place.

Swimming medals

The South African swimming team finished the competition with 12 medals, including three gold, three silver and six bronze. Le Clos won a record equaling seven medals, with golds in the 100 and 200m butterfly, silver in the 4 x 100m freestyle, and bronze in the 50m butterfly, 200m individual medley, 4 x 200m freestyle relay, and the 4 x 100m medley relay.

“It has been a great week for me,” Le Clos said, reflecting on his big medal haul after the medley relay. “I started off with the 50m butterfly, and I was just happy to get the bronze. I think that was the biggest weight off of me, just to get that medal first up.

“The relay, the 4 by 100m [medley], was one of the highlights of the meet, all the relays, actually. The 4 by 100m freestyle was amazing for me. Swimming a 48.5, I was really happy with that, and the 4 by 200m [was good].”

Medal spread

“Any time you can bring medals home for South Africa, it’s successful, but the most successful thing is that the medals are spread this time,” breaststroke star Cameron van der Burgh said.

“If you look at Sebastien, Leith and all these boys bringing medals home, it’s a lot more diverse now. We are growing in the number and the depth that we have and that’s the main thing.” p>

Athletics

Long Jumpers Rushwahl Samaai and Zarck Visser were automatic qualifiers for Wednesday’s final. After a first trial no jump, Visser launched himself to 7.99m, which exceeded the automatic qualifying distance by 9cm, and headed the group B contenders.

England’s Greg Rutherford, who leapt 8.05m, was the only person to better Samaai’s mark of 8.03m in group A.

Andre Olivier won his 800m heat in 1:47.93. “It’s going to be tough in the semis,” he said afterwards. “I need to run a good race.”

Mountain biking

In the mountain biking competition, Mariska Strauss placed tenth in the women’s cross-country race after losing time on the very first lap following a crash in the bunch.

“Halfway through the first lap there was a crash just ahead of me, allowing the lead girls to pull away,” said Strauss. “It was a mission trying to catch back, but I gave it my all and ended tenth, and tenth was my best today, so and well done to the other girls.”

Gold went to Canada’s Catherine Pendrel, who dominated the race, with fellow Canadian Emily Batty picking up silver and the Australian Rebecca Henderson the bronze medal.

In the men’s race, Philip Buys was in sixth place after the first lap, but then steadily lost places to finish in 13th position. New Zealander Anton Cooper claimed gold ahead of his team-mate Sam Gaze, with Australia’s Dan McConnell coming home in third.

Hockey

The South African men’s hockey team recovered from a 0-5 defeat to world number one Australia to hand Wales a 5-1 loss. That leaves them in third place in Pool A, with two wins and one defeat, with a crucial game coming up against India, who, like South Africa, are on seven points after three matches.

Medal standings

After Tuesday’s action, South Africa is in seventh place on the medal table, with seven gold, five silver and nine bronze medals for a total haul of 26 in all.

Australia tops the standings with 34 gold, 31 silver and 36 bronze medals, bringing their total to 101.

England, with 33 gold, 33 silver and 27 bronze is in second place, with 93 in all.

Canada’s 16 gold, five silver and 18 bronze medals has the North Americans in third place.