Durban - South African swimming champion Chad le Clos is bringing home the trophy for the Best Male Athlete in Africa.
Le Clos was awarded the trophy at a glittering evening honouring top sportsmen and women around the globe at the Association of National Olympic Committee (Anoc) Gala Awards in Prague, in the Czech Republic, on Thursday.
Speaking from Prague yesterday, Le Clos said: “I am truly humbled to win this award and a big thank you to everyone back home in South Africa who has supported me. It’s been a tough 18 months and this is a big award.”
After a disappointing showing at the Rio Olympics in 2016, Le Clos has been back in fine form this year, taking back the top spot in the World Championship 200m butterfly.
He has been picking up gold throughout the year, including taking on rival US champ Tom Shields in the butterfly events at the Doha leg of the Fina Swimming World Cup. Le Clos won both the 50m and 200m events.
At the 2017 Fina short-course swimming World Cup in Berlin, he also took gold in the 50m and 200m butterfly and silver in the men’s 100m freestyle.
Le Clos said both his parents, who had been diagnosed with cancer, are in remission and that he had spent much of the year travelling. His father, Bert, attended the awards ceremony with him last night.
“I am incredibly proud to represent my country and continent at the Anoc Awards.
“After a difficult year in my personal life, I am really pleased with my results this year and was delighted to come back and win gold.
“Sport in Africa is going from strength to strength and I am really honoured to win the award for Best Male Athlete in Africa.”
Durban-born and bred, but now living in Cape Town, Le Clos said he missed his family in Durban. “It’s a great city and I’m still a big Sharks fan.”
Male and female athletes from each continent were honoured for their performances in a variety of sports over the past few months.