Dubai – South Africa's Chad le Clos came within three-hundredths of a second of breaking his own 200m butterfly world record on the opening night of the Dubai leg of the World Cup on Thursday.
Clos, who won the gold in the event ahead of his idol Michael Phelps in the 2012 London Olympics, easily lived up to his billing as the favourite with a brilliant effort as he stopped the clock at 1:49.07.
In Eindhoven, earlier this year, he had picked up a world record bonus of $10,000 with a 1:49.04 effort.
Clos was better than his Eindhoven timing halfway through the race, but could not maintain the pace in the second half.
However, he was a comfortable winner, Poland's Pawel Korzeniowski second in 1:51.26 and Brazil's Frederico Veloso De Castro taking third in 1:54.91.
However, it still wasn't a 100 per cent day for the 21-year-old South African sensation, as he failed to pick up a second gold losing the 50m butterfly to compatriot Roland Schoeman by the narrowest of margins -- one-hundredth of a second.
Schoeman was home in 22.27, edging Le Clos to runner-up place at 22.28.
Schoeman had earlier won the men's 50m breast by nearly a second over Germany's Hendrik Feldwehr.
The South African clocked a 25.96 to Feldwehr's 26.95, while Japan's Shinri Shioura wound up third in 27.38.
Also in the spotlight was Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, the overall winner of World Cup last year, who has entered as many as 12 events in Dubai in an attempt to add to her points tally.
And even though the 24-year-old did not have the best of starts -- she missed out on a podium finish with a fifth place in the 800m freestyle -- she was back there within 26 minutes of that finish when she won the 200m freestyle with a time 1:53.21, ahead of Netherland's Femke Heemskerk's 1:53.46.
It was a good win for the Hungarian as Heemskerk has the best time over the distance this year (1:52.25 in Berlin).
Hosszu picked up her second gold of the night in the 200m individual medley with a time of 2:06.58. That was almost three seconds off her world record time, but nearly two seconds better than second-placed Emily Seebohm of Australia (2:08.43).
Hosszu also won the silver in the 100m butterfly (behind Denmark's Jeanette Ottesen's gold winning effort of 56.47), bronze in the 200m backstroke, and visited the podium for the fifth time when she was third in the 50m backstroke.
Among other winners were Spain's Mireia Belmonte, the world record holder, in women's 800m freestyle,Hungary's David Verraszto in the men's 400m IM with 4:01.25 and Russia's Vlad Morozov in the men's 100m freestyle.
Also triumphant were Jamaica's Alia Atkinson in the women's 100m breaststroke, with a superb time of 1:02.91, USA's Tom Shields in the men's 100m backstroke and Great Britain's Michael Jamieson in the men's 200m breaststroke.– AFP