CAPE TOWN – More than a gold medal, South Africa’s swimming superstar Chad le Clos believes he was robbed of a special moment in history, and an opportunity to make his country proud when he took silver in the Rio Olympic Games 200m freestyle final behind drug cheat Sun Yang of China.Sun, whose win in Rio was overshadowed by allegations of doping before that 2016 victory, was banned last week for eight years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), effectively ending his career.The court found that Sun refused to cooperate with blood-sample collectors in violation of rules set out by FINA, swimming’s governing body.CAS heard testimony that in September 2018 a security guard, under instruction from Sun’s mother, smashed the casing around his vial of blood with a hammer.FINA protected Sun, by saying the sample collectors didn’t identify themselves, and that Sun had not been properly notified that he needed to submit samples. The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) appealed FINA’s decision to CAS, which resulted in Sun’s eight-year ban. Sun’s ban has surprised few in swimming circles as China’s most famous athlete has been the centre of doping allegations, coupled with bad behaviour both in and out of the swimming pool, for several years already.Le Clos, who lost to Sun in Rio, has no sympathy for the Chinese superstar, as South Africa’s Olympic golden boy rues the moment that passed him four years ago. It’s not about an Olympic gold medal, he says, but for the record, and for justice.Speaking to EWN Sport, Le Clos spoke out against Sun, whom he said was a known cheat who had finally been punished. “I’m not upset. I don’t really care. I want it for my record. I lost a moment. You know how it was when Wayde (van Niekerk) and Caster (Semenya) won in 2016, it was huge. Everyone was so happy. When the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup, and when I won in London (in 2012), there was a huge moment, that you lose, and I didn’t get that. Could you imagine if England won the World Cup and the whole team was found to be doping? Can you imagine how that would feel, losing out on that moment with the trophy? But at the end of the day, it is what it is,” said Le Clos.Le Clos finished second to take silver after Sun powered ahead of him in the closing stages of that fateful 200m final freestyle in Rio. Le Clos was ahead of the world record pace after just 50 metres, but Sun finished 0.55 seconds ahead of Le Clos in the end.“I was ahead by a long way, with 50 metres to go in that race, but Sun Yang came passed me. He was the only man who did that, and that says it all, really. I broke the national record, the African record and Sun came passed me like I was standing still in the last 25 metres which is unheard of,” Le Clos said.
‘I lost an important Olympic moment,’ says Chad le Clos
Tuesday 3 15:32