Strong winds at the Lagoa stadium led to the cancellation of the rowing events on Sunday. Four Team South Africa boats had been scheduled for action – the Women’s Pair, Lightweight Women’s Sculls, Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls and the Men’s Four. Three other codes were represented. Here is how the team fared.
Men’s 200m Freestyle (Heat 5): Chad le Clos and Myles Brown both qualified for the semi-finals in third and 13th fastest overall
Gary Lemke says: Chad le Clos stuck his hand up as a potential medallist when he powered his way to a new personal best 1min 45.89sec. His previous PB had been 1:46.10 at the 2015 World Championships. The national record is the 1:45.67 set by Jean Basson at the 2009 World Championships. Le Clos got off to a blazing start and reacted fastest off the blocks (0.66) and reached 50m under world record pace. Stretching out to a body length clear the South African looked comfortable as he led at halfway (50.66), maintained a good lead at 150m (1:18.34) before being chased down by Yang Sun heading into the wall. The Chinese swimmer impressed with a 26.40 last 50m to win ahead of Le Clos who had already done all the hard work and could turn off the engines. Brown, who broke the SA 400m freestyle record on Saturday, sat in Le Clos’ slipstream in the lane outside him for much of the race before finishing fifth in 1:46.78 and booking a place in the evening’s semi-finals.
Fastest qualifiers: 1 Yang Sun (China) 1:45.75, 2 Paul Biedermann (Ger) 1:45.78, 3 Chad le Clos (RSA) 1:45.89 PB, 4 Conor Dwyer (USA) 1:45.95, 13 Myles Brown (RSA) 1:46.78
Quotable quote: ‘I’m happy. It was hard but I wanted to go out hard and be at the front. We’ll see tonight. It’s a very big race tonight. I tightened up in the last 25 but it was the heats, I knew it was going to be hard. I’m not a natural freestyler but that was not bad for a fly guy.’ – Le Clos
Men’s 100m Backstroke (Heat 4): Christopher Reid qualified for the semi-finals after he finished fifth in his heat in 53.68 and 12th overall.
Gary Lemke says: Christopher Reid had qualified for Rio with a time of 53.12 and took off in lane six in the fourth of five heats. He was second slowest to react (0.66), but reached the turn in 25.82, in fourth spot. The first five swimmers all went under 54 seconds. The 20-year-old Port Elizabeth-raised but now USA-based was competing in his first Olympics and in honour of his father, who passed away from cancer, and whose dying wish had been to see his son perform in Rio. A semi-final in his first Games is a significant achievement for Reid.
Fastest qualifiers: 1 Camille Lacourt (France) 52.96, 2 Jiaya Xu (China) 53.01, 3 Mitchell Larkin (Aus) 53.04, 12 Christopher Reid (RSA) 53.68
Men’s 200m Freestyle, semi-finals: Myles Brown finished sixth in his race in 1:46.57, going quicker than he had in the heats. It wasn’t enough to see him qualify for the final – he placed 12th overall – but he can be happy with the improvement.
Gary Lemke says: Chad le Clos, after another lightning start as he had done in the heats, led through the first 50m in 23.91 – ‘whew, that quick’ he said afterwards – but eventually had to settle for fifth in 1:45.94, but he qualified for the final, seventh overall. Le Clos freely admits that he ‘loves to race’ and this probably cost him – along with inexperience in the 200m freestyle – inside the last 25m of the semi-final. He wants to win every race he gets into and turns it into a dogfight if he has to. Don’t write him off ahead of the final; he’s unlikely to win but could win a bronze. At the back of his mind will be the fact there’s 30 minutes between the butterfly semi-final and the freestyle final.
Fastest qualifiers (into final): 1 Yang Sun (Japan) 1:44.63, 2 Kasuke Hagino (Japan) 1:45.45, 3 Conor Dwyer (USA) 1:45.55, 7 Chad le Clos (RSA) 1:45.94, 12 Myles Brown (RSA) 1:46.57
Men’s 100m breaststroke final: Cameron van der Burgh fought all the way and won the race for silver behind Britain’s Adam Peaty, who broke the world record for the second time in two swims with a 57.13 effort. Van der Burgh timed 58.69, with America’s Cody Miller third in 58.87.
Click here to read the race wrap-up
Men’s 100m Backstroke, semi-finals: Christopher Reid finished fifth in 53.70, which left him in 10th position overall and missing out on the final
Women’s Road Race: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio finished 10th, 1min 14sec behind, and An-Li Kachelhoffer 39th. Anna Van Den Breggen, of the Netherlands, had been the bookies’ 4-1 favourite and she snatched the gold medal on the line.
In brief: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and the big peloton were left behind with 40km to go but the South African led the group bridging the gap and with 20km to come, reigned in the breakaways and briefly led the race on the steep climbs. Kachelhoffer had been unable to go with them. Another break on the sapping 8km climb followed and this time Moolman-Pasio was dropped, her efforts spent on closing that one minute-plus gap and she wasn’t a factor from 15km out. The race was marred by a horrid accident suffered by Netherlands rider Annemiek van Vleuten, who was leading the race before losing control and being rendered unconscious on the side of the road. Images of the crash went around the world shortly afterwards. Van Vleuten was admitted to hospital after suffering three small fractures to her vertebrate and concussion as well. She’s certainly been in the wars lately – last year she was left with multiple fractures and a collapsed lung after being hit by a car while training in Livigno, Italy.
Results: 1 Anna Van Den Breggen (Ned) 3hr 51min 27sec, 2 Emma Johansson (Swe), 3 Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), both +0sec, 4 Mara Abbott (USA) +4sec, 10 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) +1:14, 39 An-Li Kachelhoffer (RSA) +10.02
Click here for Mark Etheridge’s race report
Men’s Group A: South Africa 0 Denmark 1. The Under-23s suffered a setback after their 0-0 draw by going down 1-0 to the Danes who now have four points from two matches. South Africa had their chances but failed to score for the second time in two games.
Click here for Mo Allie’s match report
Image of Christopher Reid courtesy Christiaan Kotze/SASPA