Le Clos, V/d Burgh into fi­nals

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VILLIERS

SOUTH Africa’s peren­nial medal hope­fuls Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh will chal­lenge for the coun­try’s first medals at the FINA World Cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest, Hun­gary af­ter ad­vanc­ing to their re­spec­tive fi­nals.

De­fend­ing 200m but­ter­fly cham­pion Las­zlo Cseh struck an early psy­cho­log­i­cal blow when he surged over the fi­nal lap to touch the wall first in his heat against Le Clos.

Cseh posted the fastest time of the pre­lim­i­nary rounds clock­ing 1:54.08 with Le Clos’ time of 1:55.90 rank­ing him fifth af­ter the morn­ing heats.

Rac­ing against the Hun­gar­ian favourite Cseh and Rio Olympics bronze medal­list Ta­mas Ken­deresi, Le Clos got off to a fly­ing start.

He was still in the lead at the fi­nal turn be­fore Cseh moved past him over the fi­nal few me­tres to touch first in a time of 1:54.22 with Ken­deresi touch­ing sec­ond in 1:54.98.

The South African’s gaze fol­lowed Cseh as he hit the wall be­fore rac­ing home in a time of 1:55.09 to earn his place in the fi­nal.

Le Clos will have quite the bat­tle on his hands to re­claim the ti­tle he con­ceded to Cseh two years ago.

Be­sides his con­queror, there is also Ja­pan’s Daiya Seto who set the fastest time, 1:54.03, of the semi­fi­nals.

Lon­don 2012 Olympic cham­pion Van der Burgh marched into the fi­nal of the 50m breast­stroke where he will be in line for his sixth con­sec­u­tive world championship medal.

Show­ing age-de­fy­ing form, Van der Burgh posted a ca­reer best and a new South African and con­ti­nen­tal record in the morn­ing heats when he hit the wall in a time of 26.54 sec­onds.

Bri­tish breast­stroke phe­nom­e­non Adam Peaty con­tin­ued his reign of ter­ror in the pool break­ing the world record in the sprint even twice in one day.

Fin­ish­ing ahead of Van der Burgh in the morn­ing’s pre­lim­i­nary rounds, Peaty touched first in a time of 26.10.

He did the trick again in the evening’s semi­fi­nal when he be­came the first man to dip be­low 26 sec­onds.

The Olympic cham­pion hit the wall in a new world record-time of 25.95 mak­ing him the re­sound­ing favourite for the gold and to claim a rare 50-100m breast­stroke dou­ble. in for Thomas Le­mar, and it won’t be too long be­fore ris­ing stars Kylian Mbappe and Fabinho are on their way.

This is the re­al­ity of mod­ern-day foot­ball. Any­body ex­pect­ing play­ers to re­main at a club for loy­alty is prob­a­bly watch­ing from Mars.

A player’s ca­reer is short, which is why he needs to make the most of his youth, tal­ent and en­ergy. So, when Father Time takes its toll and the in­evitabil­ity of age kicks in, the in­di­vid­ual is fi­nan­cially set for life.

In the past, es­pe­cially in South Africa, far too many top play­ers strug­gled af­ter re­tir­ing be­cause there was very lit­tle money in the game. To­day, the PSL is awash with money, to­gether with over­seas play­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, so no­body should be be­grudg­ing play­ers when they de­cide to move on. The only cur­rency that flows through foot­ball now is money and am­bi­tion.

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