Le Clos in home straight

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VIL­LIERS

THE WHEELS would have to come off com­pletely for Chad le Clos to let the over­all men’s Fina World Cup ti­tle slip out off his hands af­ter a suc­cess­ful night on the open­ing day of the Tokyo leg yes­ter­day.

Le Clos ex­tended his lead in the se­ries by win­ning the 50m but­ter­fly and fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the 100m freestyle yes­ter­day.

The South African sen­sa­tion raced to vic­tory in the sprint event in a time of 22.49 sec­onds, with Be­laru­sian Pavel Sankovich fin­ish­ing be­hind him in 22.81sec. An­drii Govorov of the Ukraine bagged the bronze medal in 22.96.

“I was ner­vous a bit for the 50 fly be­cause it was the 27th con­sec­u­tive win in that event at the World Cup, and no one’s done that be­fore,” Le Clos told the Fina web­site.

“In fact, it’s 30 races un­beaten with the world champs (in­cluded).

“It’s go­ing to be close with Vladimir (Moro­zov) but hope­fully, and I don’t re­ally want to say it, some­thing would have to go re­ally wrong for me to lose the over­all ti­tle.”

In the 100 freestyle, Le Clos played sec­ond fid­dle to Rus­sian Moro­zov, who is the sec­ond man in the se­ries rank­ings be­hind the South African.

Moro­zov touched the wall first in a time of 45.65sec with Le Clos fol­low­ing in 46.06 and Kat­sumi Naka­muraswam of Ja­pan round­ing out the podium in 46.54.

The South African swim­ming sen­sa­tion is on the cusp of be­com­ing the first men’s swim­mer to win four over­all World Cup ti­tles af­ter win­ning the first two clus­ters (groups of three meet­ings) of the se­ries.

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