Le Clos says disappointing week in Tokyo will only make him stronger

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South African swimmer, Chad Le Clos, says his disappointing week at the Olympic Games in Tokyo will only make him stronger.

Le Clos, who bagged four medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, left the Tokyo Games empty-handed this week.

After winning medals at the London and Rio de Janeiro Games, much was expected from the 29-year-old Le Clos. But he finished fifth in the 200-meters butterfly final and failed to progress further than the heats in the 100-meters butterfly event.

But the South African is known as a fighter and while he admits that his life is about more than just winning, he believes he will be on the podium again.

“My journey is not just about maybe winning gold medals now. I’ve seen that and it branches off into different directions. But, I do believe that I will be – I do believe, I don’t want to jinx anything (Laughs) – but I can stand here not in the greatest place, but I still believe that I will be a champion again one day,” he says.

Le Clos’ journey has included many highs and lows, which has made him who he is today. “I haven’t had an easy journey from day one. I came from a little kid in Pinetown to the great heart of the London Olympics, the ups and downs of Rio and of course Tokyo now. But, I think all these experiences have actually changed me, have made me a different man to what I was even five years ago. I have a different perspective,” he says.

Heat poses a challenge

Meanwhile, apart from COVID-19, Games organisers also have to deal with soaring temperatures in Tokyo. A trackside thermometer at the athletics stadium reached 40 degrees Celcius, while the humidity was around 60%.

Some Games workers have suffered heat-related problems since the start of the showpiece, but their symptoms were mild, and many have already recovered.

The heat has also led to the rescheduling of many events, while several measures were introduced to reduce the effect of the heat on competitors.

But while organisers were trying to beat the heat – Tokyo residents have expressed concerns about record numbers of positive COVID-19 cases.

Government officials say cases in the Japanese capital have surged to a record 4 058 on Saturday, exceeding 4 000 for the first time.

The new records come a day after Japan decided to extend states of emergency to three prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka.