Bert le Clos makes passionate plea for corporate backing for swimmers
Cape Town - Swimming star Chad le Clos’ father, Bert, has made a plea to corporate SA to channel some financial backing towards swimming, as he firmly believes swimmers are being short-changed compared to their counterparts in other sports.
Le Clos senior was talking as he made an appearance at the 47th edition of the Midmar Mile in Howick at the weekend, where he was impressed with how the race has grown.
He was there as a representative of the Chad le Clos Foundation, which is in partnership with the Midmar Mile, but his son was not present as he is currently preparing for the Tokyo Olympics in Turkey.
However, in an interview with The Witness, Le Clos expressed his sadness at how swimmers were not getting the same recognition and respect as soccer, rugby and cricket players in spite of them bringing in more international medals.
“Corporate South Africa should get behind these guys; swimmers in this country don’t get the recognition that soccer players get, but they bring more gold medals than soccer and cricket put together,” he said.
“You know what rugby players get? Billions. Soccer players get more than millions and cricket players they get telephone numbers, too.
“Swimmers get nothing, their parents slave to get their kids into international swimming.”
Le Clos feels companies should be having a serious fight among themselves to sponsor an event such as the Midmar Mile, which has aQuellé as the title sponsor. He described the Midmar Mile as the pinnacle of swimming in the country.
“This is the greatest swimming competition in the world, this is the Comrades Marathon of swimming, the biggest,” said Le Clos.
“Look at the 8-milers and what they are doing, it’s fantastic what they are doing for charities. I take off my hat to them.”
Le Clos senior said his son’s foundation, which was launched in 2018, has already started to do some work in Cape Town and their goal to get kids from townships involved will soon become a reality.