Le Clos, V/d Burgh into finals
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.