Le Clos gold unlocks South African emotions
SOUTH Africa was overcome with emotion when 20-year-old Durbanite Chad le Clos won a second gold medal for the country at the Olympic Games in London, the presidency said yesterday.
“The South African nation is today filled with pride and joy,” said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj.
“Our Chad and all of us were overcome by emotion as he stood majestically to receive his medal, to the moving sound of our national anthem.”
He described Le Clos as one of the country’s finest athletes.
“We say to the rainbow team, keep the medals coming,” said Maharaj.
Le Clos dethroned the mighty Michael Phelps of the United States in the men’s 200m butterfly final on Tuesday. Phelps went on to become the most decorated Olympian of all time by winning his 19th Olympic medal and 15th gold medal in the men’s freestyle relay.
The African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as the province’s sport and recreation MEC Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha, congratulated Le Clos on his win.
“His drive to succeed in becoming a world illustrious sports person has without uncertainty made him a role model for our young people,” the ANC said in a statement.
“We have no doubt that more South African athletes will collect medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games.”
Sibhidla-Saphetha said Le Clos had given a proud performance.
“He has demonstrated to other South African athletes that nothing is impossible.”
The Inkatha Freedom Party Youth Brigade also praised the athlete’s performance.
“This win is a great achievement not only for Le Clos, but also for South African sports as a whole, because we have shown that we can compete with the best in the world and emerge victorious,” its national chairman Mkhuleko Hlengwa said.
Gauteng Premier Nomvuka Mokonyane praised Le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh, who also won gold in the pool at the Olympics.
Tshwane-born Van der Burgh won the country’s first gold medal in the men’s 100m breaststroke on Sunday night.
Mokonyane described Van der Burgh as “our golden boy”.
“We are happy that he is flying the South African flag so high in London,” she said.
“His exploits in the swimming pool show exactly what young people from our province can achieve with adequate support and self-belief.”