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Ockert De Villiers
21 Oct 2011 15:33
South African teenage sensation Chad le Clos has the swimming world buzzing as he leads the seven-leg Fina World Cup points table heading into this weekend’s fourth event.
The 19-year-old was the star of the opening leg in Dubai where he won six gold medals at the two-day meeting.
Le Clos continued his fine form in the second leg in Stockholm, Sweden, where he clinched two gold and four silver medals.
Earlier this week the Durbanite snatched a gold medal in the 200m individual medley and silver in the 200m butterfly at the Moscow meeting.
He leads the series with 61 points, with nearest challenger Hidemasa Sano of Japan on 50 points and Australian Kenneth To in third place on 30 points.
The South African, since his breakthrough year in 2010, when he was crowned world short course champion in the 200m butterfly, has been likened to 14-times Olympic champion Michael Phelps.
Ironically, Le Clos pipped Phelps to the wall in the 200m butterfly in Moscow on Tuesday, finishing second behind Sano in a time of 1:51.95.
Le Clos was in the lead for the first 50m but Sano overtook the South African at the 100m turn to take the gold medal in 1:51.62.
Phelps finished in third place, posting a time of 1:53.24.
The World Cup series moves on to Berlin on Saturday where Le Clos will hope to cement his position at the top of the points table.
If he maintains his fine form, with three more meetings after this weekend’s event, he could follow in the footsteps of Ryk Neethling and Cameron van der Burgh, who both won the overall series titles on two occasions.
Le Clos has already posted four Olympic qualifying times this year and is using the World Cup as preparation for next year’s London Games.—Sapa
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