South Africa’s swimming superstar Chad le Clos has dramatically been given permission to enter the men’s triathlon, the first medal event of the 2018 Commonwealth Games after a passionate plea to the event’s organisers.
Le Clos had been scheduled to compete in seven swimming events in his quest to take home the medals for South Africa, but after a ‘bit of banter’, as he described it, he decided to drop the men’s 50m butterfly from his schedule and see if he could get a wildcard entry for the triathlon.
‘Look, it’s a fantastic opportunity to try something new,’ the multiple Commonwealth Games, world championship and Olympic medallist said.
‘Sport is all about innovation these days and added interest for the crowds. I’m now 25 and not sure if I’ll be around for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and thought, “why not try the triathlon?”
‘I looked at the schedule with my coaches and support staff and I joked that I should also give the triathlon a try, which is on 5 April. It is the first medal event for South Africa at these Games. But I’d have to cut back my swimming schedule, which is okay.
‘What started out as something light suddenly became a “good idea” and I’m excited to have received my entry for the triathlon. The course and distance will suit me and I’m in great shape. I’ve done cycling and running in training and while the running is my “weakest part”, I think I will have enough from the swim and on the bike to be competitive,’ he said.
‘It’s a 750m swim, 20km bike ride and a 5km run, which is shorter than the Olympic distance. Both Henri Schoeman and Richard Murray are medal prospects and how great it would be for South Africa if I could also be on the podium.
‘I don’t see why we can’t make it a clean sweep of 1-2-3,’ an upbeat Le Clos said.
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