Le Clos braced to race in worlds ‘Lion’s Den’

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

South Africa’s Chad le Clos is brac­ing him­self to race in Bu­dapest’s ‘lion’s den’ at­mos­phere against home-town favourite Las­zlo Cseh in the 200m but­ter­fly at the world aquatic cham­pi­onships.

Ev­ery time a Hun­gar­ian swims at Bu­dapest’s Duna Arena, the home crowd roar their deaf­en­ing sup­port. Le Clos ex­pects a bat­tle royal as he tries to wres­tle the world gold medal off Cseh. With Hun­gary’s Ta­mas Ken­deresi also through to Tues­day night’s semi-fi­nals, it will be ex­tremely loud if both Hun­gar­i­ans reach to­day’s fi­nal.

“It’s go­ing to be tough, I said a few months ago it’ll be like a lion’s den here, but I’m a fighter - I don’t like to lose,” said Le Clos. “I’m not afraid of any­body, I wish him all the best. “Las­zlo and Ken­deresi are both good friends, they are the favourites. I’m prob­a­bly only fourth as it stands.”

Cseh won the world ti­tle in Kazan two years ago with Le Clos hav­ing to set­tle for sil­ver. With US swim su­per­star Michael Phelps now back in re­tire­ment, the South African wants the gold in Bu­dapest. Cseh was the fastest qual­i­fier into the semis at 1:54.08 mins with Ja­pan’s Daiya Seto, the 400m med­ley world cham­pion in 2013 and 2015, just be­hind. Le Clos, the 2012 Olympic and 2013 world cham­pion, was fifth fastest at 1.82secs back, but said it was all part of the plan. “I knew Las­zlo was go­ing to be quick, he likes to go home fast in the morn­ing,” said Le Clos.

“I love all the heats, you know me I like to play games. “It’s ok. We’ll shave a bit (of time off ) tonight and get ready for to­mor­row.” Le Clos also ex­plained why he was a no-show for the men’s 200m freestyle heats on Mon­day, the event in which he won a sil­ver medal at the 2016 Olympics.

“We de­cided about three weeks ago not to swim, I did a time trial about 10 days ago and I was about 1.47.0,” said Le Clos. “I re­alised I’m prob­a­bly not in the right shape to go 1.44 here. “I don’t think to be hon­est that’s go­ing to be good enough for me this time around, so we’ll see.

“But def­i­nitely in the Com­mon­wealth Games next year, and def­i­nitely in 2020 (the Tokyo Olympics), I’m back.”

— AFP

BU­DAPEST: South Africa’s Chad Le Clos com­petes in a heat of the men’s 200m but­ter­fly dur­ing the swim­ming com­pe­ti­tion at the 2017 FINA World Cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest, yes­ter­day.

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