x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Perfect six for unbeaten Le Clos at swimming World Cup

The South African adds three more gold medals to day one's returns, and the Emirati Al Ghafri has "an indescribable feeling" after clinching bronze in the 50-metre backstroke.

Mohammed Humaid Al Ghafri, of the UAE, right, was thrilled after a third-place finish in the 50m backstroke.
Mohammed Humaid Al Ghafri, of the UAE, right, was thrilled after a third-place finish in the 50m backstroke.

Chad le Clos grabbed the spotlight as he made it six golds from six events at the swimming World Cup on Saturday night. But his South African compatriots were not the only ones in the crowd celebrating.

The UAE's Mohammed Humaid Al Ghafri gave the local fans something to shout about when the 23 year old claimed the bronze medal in the 50-metre backstroke.

He finished in 26.08secs, behind Japan's Masafumi Yamaguchi (24.17secs) and Sweden's Kristian Kron (25.99secs).

"It's an indescribable feeling to get third and win a medal for the UAE," Al Ghafri said.

"When I finished the race I was so exhausted but once I saw the result on the scoreboard, my tiredness disappeared. Thanks to God that I finished this weekend with a medal."

Le Clos, 19, added another three golds to his collection on the second night of competition at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex.

The first came in the hotly contested 100m butterfly where he got the better of the Russian world-record holder Evgeny Korotyshkin to finish in a time of 50.66secs. Korotyshkin settled for silver in 51.14secs and Kenya's Jason Dunford bronze in 51.70secs.

Le Clos's second gold of the night came in the 200m individual medley, which he claimed in 1min 55.14secs. Austria's Dinko Jukic again had to be content with second place behind the South African; he was the runner-up to Le Clos three times on Friday night.

It was the 400m backstroke, an event Le Clos would normally not take on, that produced his third gold of the night and sixth overall. Nelson Silva of Brazil was second in that race, more than two seconds behind.

"I didn't expect to win six golds so it was great to do it in front of such a good crowd," Le Clos said. "The competition was definitely tough and there were some great competitors here such as Jason Dunford and Evgeny Korotyshkin.

"He [Korotyshkin] is the world-record holder for the 100m butterfly so it was great to compete against him. Thankfully I stayed with the guys on the 100 butterfly, and I'm really proud of that."

Silva offered praise for the teenager who defeated him in the 400m backstroke: "Chad has been an amazing swimmer not just recently but for years. He just keeps getting faster and faster."

Marco Koch of Germany was another top performer here. He completed a sweep of the breaststroke events by adding the 100m title to the 50m and the 200m he won on Friday night.

Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands claimed her second gold of the competition, beating her training partner Ranomi Kromowidjojo to 50m butterfly gold. It was Kromowidjojo who got the edge in the 100m freestyle however, winning in a time of 52.88secs.

"After yesterday, this was a really good race. It was a good time for Marleen as well," said Kromowidjojo. "I've been working on my turns and kicking. It's good to be back in the pool and it feels easier than yesterday."

The 200m breaststroke saw the Chinese women make a clean sweep of the medals, Fan Rong winning gold, Liu Xiaoyu the silver and Wu Yuele the bronze. The men's 50m freestyle title was shared between Dunford and Hungary's Krisztian Takacs after they both reached the wall in 21.78secs.

"I am very happy with my time and that's a new record for Kenya," Dunford said.

The women's 200m backstroke saw the Ukrainian Daryna Zevina taking top honours, edging Miyuki Takemura of Japan. Zevina had to settle for silver in the 200m butterfly, though, finishing behind Petra Granlund of Sweden who then went on to take a second gold two races later in the 400m freestyle.

The other golds of the night went to Yu Hang Sze of Hong Kong (100m IM) and her compatriot David Kai Wai Wong (200m freestyle) as well as China's Liu (50m freestyle) and Izumi Kato of Japan (400 IM).