Swimming star Chad Le Clos wants to become the greatest athlete to have ever been produced by South Africa. At 26 years of age, the 2012 Olympic champion is already one of the most decorated sportsmen in the country.

Le Clos famously beat one of the greatest swimmers of all time, Michael Phelps, at the London Games seven years ago. He has multiple Commonwealth and World Championship titles and was the World Swimmer of the Year in 2014 and 2018.

With Tokyo 2020 on the horizon, Le Clos says he wants to keep competing at the highest level for at least another five years. Le Clos is currently preparing for the 2019 World Championships to be held in Gwangju, South Korea from July 12 to 28.

The Durbanite says his main aim for this biennial global event is to test himself against some of the up-and-coming global stars in his main butterfly 100 metres and 200 metres events.

These athletes, like Kristof Milak of Hungary, Italy’s Gianluca Urlando and Russian Andrey Minakov, all teenagers, are expected to be Le Clos’ main challengers come the Olympics next year and he wants to get a closer look at them.

Le Clos has often tried to bite more than he can chew at previous championships.

At the Olympics in 2012, he tried to compete in the butterfly events as well as the freestyle, Individual Medley (IM) and the relays, whilst also doing the same in Rio four years later.

Now he hopes that a change of ploy, which will see all the focus being on the 100 and 200m butterfly disciplines, will yield better results. – Report by Thahir Asmal