SA takes it down a notch at the Olympics

SA moved from 10th spot to number 14 on the medal table at the London Olympics, on a day that saw a sterling performance on the hockey field, with the better part of its efforts in the water setting up promising finals.


Bert Le Clos, father of South African gold medalist Chad Le Clos on Thursday confirmed that his son has pulled out of the men's 200m individual medley final, according to radio station, 5fm.

Le Clos said the decision was taken in order for Chad to focus on the 100m butterfly heats and potential semi-final race on Thursday.

Chad Le Clos qualified for the 200m individual medley final on Wednesday night, but should he swim the race, he would be swimming in his second, if not third race of the day, with the 100m butterfly heats and semifinal also scheduled for Thursday.

Le Clos and Suzaan van Biljon both achieved milestones in the swimming pool in their respective semifinals at the London Olympic Games on Tuesday.

Le Clos secured his fourth final at the Games, becoming the first South African to do that since the country was readmitted to the global showpiece in 1992.

He became an overnight international sensation after he unseated 15-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly final the night before.

Still reeling from Tuesday night's excitement, Le Clos advanced to the final of the men's 200m individual medley by the skin of his teeth.

Le Clos was up against four-time Olympic medallist Laszlo Cseh of Hungary in his heat as he touched sixth, recording a personal best time of 1:58.49.

His time was just good enough to secure a berth in Thursday's final with the eighth fastest time.

Van Biljon broke Penny Heyns' 13-year-old South African record of 2:23.64 in the women's 200m breaststroke semifinal.

She finished third in her semifinal with a time of 2:23.21 to advance to the final.

Phelps and Ryan Lochte will slug it out for one last time on Thursday after the two Americans teamed up on Tuesday in the squad that crushed the rest of the field in the 4×200 metres freestyle relay to give Phelps his 19th Olympic medal, an all-time record.

The duo now go head to head in the 200m individual medley – a final tantalising clash before Phelps retires.

Lochte drew first blood in London by winning the 400m version on Saturday, pushing Phelps into fourth place.

Phelps is bidding again for the elusive feat of becoming the first male swimmer to win the same event at three successive Olympics.

"We love racing against each other," he said. "Neither one of us likes to lose. I like to say we bring out the best in one another."

The US has topped the list of swimming wins:


Back on track
The South African men's hockey team rallied from a goal down to end 2-2 against Great Britain in their Olympic pool A clash on Wednesday evening.

The South Africans came from a goal down, took the lead and then saw it slip away as they went in search of a result to get their campaign back on track.

Captain Austin Smith made no mistake as he scored South Africa's first goal of the Olympics from the PC.

Jonty Robinson made it 2-1 a short while later to put South Africa in the lead for the first time in the fixture.

His celebrations were short-lived as Britain equalised with three minutes to play.

Darren Murray came third in his 200m backstroke heat, in 2:00.01, but his overall placing was not good enough to make it through to the semis.

The South African rowing duo of Naydene Smith and Lee-Ann Persse put in a strong effort to finish second in the women's pairs B final on Wednesday.

They crossed the line behind China's Yage Zhang and Yulan Gau.

Smith and Persse started well and led the race to the 1000m halfway mark but Zhang and Gau dug deep to come back strongly at the end.

Cyclist Ashleigh Moolman finished 24th out of 24 riders in the women's individual time trial event, in a time of 42:23.57.

Moolman finished nearly five minutes behind American rider Kristin Armstrong who won gold and defended her 2008 Beijing Olympic time trial title.

South Africa's beach volleyball team of Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt were beaten by the Polish pair of Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek, 21-19 and 21-13, in their final match, bringing an end to their Olympic campaign.

The South Africans lost both of their previous matches – also by two sets to nil – against the US and Latvia. – Sapa

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