Olympic silver medalist Chad Le Clos received a hero’s welcome when he arrived at the King Shaka International Airport in Durban from the Rio Olympic Games on Thursday afternoon, 18/08.
Le Clos emerged from the arrivals terminal to a massive welcome by scores of people, including media as well as children from his former school Westville Boys High School and oThongathi Primary School.
Le Clos was overwhelmed with emotions and could not hold back the tears.
He said he was somehow disappointed for missing out on the gold medal against rival, American swimmer Michael Phelps at Rio 2016.
“I have a busy two months ahead. I’m confident that I will still be able to win more gold medals,” he said.
“It’s a huge honour for me to be representing my country, representing my state, just to be here. This is one of the greatest moments for me. It has been a difficult week for me, it been a difficult few months, I wish I won a gold medal. But next time I promise I will be a bit stronger. All I can say to all the fans out here and everybody that is looking up to somebody, reach for the stars and your dreams will come true,” said Le Clos.
In her message of welcome, MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Mrs Bongi Sithole-Moloi, said KwaZulu-Natal is proud of the performances of all athletes from the Province who were part of Team South Africa.
“In acknowledging the honour brought to the Province by having at least 16 athletes selected for the Games, I wish to personally congratulate each of the athletes for their inclusion in Team South Africa. Chad le Clos, KZN’s Olympic Champion, once again deserves special mention for his silver medals in the 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle events. We are pleased with the individual performances of all our athletes as some of them have achieved their personal best despite the tough competition against the world’s top athletes.
“The Department would also like to wish Bridgett Hartley, Henri Schoeman, Alan Hatherley and Paralympians Alani Ferriera, Kevin Paul and Tyrone Pillay well in the forthcoming events. Alani Ferriera, our 17 year old swimmer, must also be acknowledged for being the youngest KZN athlete participating at the Games.”
“We are proud of the fact that most of these athletes received support in their preparations from the Department of Sport and Recreation’s Elite Athlete Development Programme (EADP) based at the Prime Human Performance Institute at Moses Mabhida Stadium. The Province has already commenced with the process of extending the EADP in order to ensure that KZN has a sports high performance pathway framework that enables federations to achieve sustained competitive excellence at international level,” said MEC Sithole-Moloi.
An official welcome has been planned soon after the arrival of the Paralympic team in order to celebrate and honour the achievement of our athletes.