CAPE TOWN • Olympic swimming gold medallist Chad le Clos had to leave his Turkish base in a rush after his training schedule for the Tokyo Games was thrown into disarray, and now has doubts over whether the world’s foremost sporting event will go ahead.
The South African set up in Turkey after an earlier camp in Italy had been cancelled due to the global coronavirus pandemic, but has returned home to Cape Town.
Admitting to uncertainty over his immediate future plans, le Clos, 27, told South Africa’s Sunday Times: “There’s no real plan going forward. I have no coach, no training partners. I could be stuck here until the Olympics.
“If they shut the gyms here, I don’t have a Plan B (for a pool). It’s scary. I’ve spoken to some guys literally stuck in their homes. They can’t do training.
“I was told Penny Oleksiak, the Canadian (100m free) Olympic champion, hasn’t swum in 20 days in Toronto.”
Le Clos added it had been a turbulent week, which included a mad dash out of Turkey after authorities introduced border controls to stem the spread of Covid-19.
“On Monday, the plan was to stay six, seven weeks (here). Suddenly, the country is going into lockdown and hotels are probably going to be closed,” he said.
“We had 36 hours to get out. Luckily, I got (plane) tickets the same night. It’s such a whirlwind.
“One minute, you’re training hard, everything’s going great, and then you have to leave.”
While le Clos believes the Games may not proceed as scheduled, he urged fellow athletes to keep training.
THROWN IN DISARRAY
If they shut the gyms here, I don’t have a Plan B (for a pool). It’s scary. I’ve spoken to some guys literally stuck in their homes.
CHAD LE CLOS, South African Olympic swim champion, has had his Tokyo 2020 training plans disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said:”I urge everyone to focus as if the Olympics is going to happen. If it gets postponed, all the hard work you’ve done will continue to whenever it’s held.
“Don’t take your foot off the accelerator, don’t make the mistake of thinking it might not happen, because if it takes just one per cent off you, you lose out big time.”
Le Clos is his country’s most decorated Olympian with a gold in the 200m butterfly at the 2012 London Games which shot him to fame, as well as three silver medals.