Swimmer Chad le Clos aims to put a disappointing Rio Olympics behind him when the South African competes in Hong Kong in the final leg of the Airweave World Cup series at Victoria Park Swimming Pool over the weekend.
Although unhappy with his 2016 Olympics showing, Le Clos still became the nation’s most decorated Olympian ever as he took his career medal haul to four – one gold and three silver, two of which came in the Rio Games men’s 200-metre freestyle and 100-metre butterfly.
“I got two silver medals and it’s not the worst result but personally I thought I could have at least won one gold medal in Rio,” said the 24 year-old. “It was a huge disappointment although I won’t be making excuses of what had happened. I am now looking forward to the next Olympic Games and I would lose myself if I can’t go to Tokyo in 2020.”
Watch: Chad le Clos talk about his Rio Olympics performances
The South African took a short break after the Rio Games before returning to the pool for the World Cup series, for which he is now in second place overall behind leader Vladimir Morozov, of Russia, after eight legs.
“I had a two to three weeks off after the Olympics as I just want to race again, or win again,” said Le Clos, who was the 2014 overall World Cup champion. “I am quite happy going into the last leg with a second overall position because I want to assess the situation and come back stronger next year to win the series.
“The Hong Kong leg will be the last meet before the short course world championships in December and I want to improve on my smaller things heading for the world event and also settle with Daiya Seto in the butterfly as this will be the decider.”
The Japanese butterfly specialist has beaten Le Clos three times this year while the South African has also beaten his rival three times.
The 2016 World Cup series is split into three clusters with each cluster made up of three meets. The last cluster began in Singapore last week before the swimmers headed to Tokyo with Hong Kong being the final leg.
To attract the best swimmers and provide incentives, each cluster offers a prize fund of US$300,000 while the overall men’s and women’s champions after nine meets will receive US$100,000 each.
In the women’s event, multi-Olympic gold medallist Katinka Hosszu, of Hungary, has already been confirmed as the overall champion even before the Hong Kong leg, keeping the title she has held on to since 2012.
Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen and Alia Atkinson, of Jamaica, who set a world record 28.64 seconds in the 50-metre breaststrokes in Tokyo, are competing for second place overall while home favourite Chan Kin-lok will be aiming to repeat her bronze medal performance in the 200-metre butterfly in the Moscow leg in September.
She also set a Hong Kong record of 2:08.78 in the same event in the Qatar leg earlier this month with a fourth place.
“I hope I can continue with my impressive run in the series in front of home crowds,” said Chan. “My endurance power has improved since I adopted a new training method a year ago but since all the top swimmers will be competing in the last leg in Hong Kong, it won’t be easy.”