Van der Burgh poised to upstage Le Clos at World Cup.
Dubai: South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh looks set to wrest the overall Fina/Airweave Swimming World Cup title away from teammate Chad Le Clos, having established a comfortable lead with three legs of the eight-stage series remaining. The 27-year-old is in fine form and is on course to regain the title he last won in 2009.
Le Clos has won the overall title for three out of the past four years, with only Australia's Kenneth To breaking his run in 2012.
Van der Burgh, meanwhile, has skipped the last few World Cup seasons after taking back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009.
The final and deciding leg of this year's series takes place at Dubai's Hamdan Sports Complex from November 6-7, with the overall men's and women's champions each winning $100,000 (Dh367,218).
Butterfly specialist Le Clos competed in the first two legs in Moscow and Paris in August, winning five gold and one silver to sit second behind Van der Burgh. However, after competing in the All Africa Games in September, Le Clos sat out rounds three to five in Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore, after which he fell to fifth in the standings.
Van der Burgh, meanwhile, has been ever present, assimilating 237 points so far. He faced double disappointment at this year's World Championships in Kazan in August, losing his 50-metre breaststroke title to Adam Peaty, who also beat him in the 100-metres.
Leaving Russia with two silvers clearly fired him up, however, and he has since gone unbeaten in the 50-metre and 100-metre breaststroke, taking double gold in the first four legs, only to be denied of the double in Singapore when the first day of the finals had to be cancelled due to air quality concerns. He still took the 100-metre title and is on track for a clean sweep of the sprint breaststroke events.
Van der Burgh is now 122 points ahead of joint second Masato Sakai of Japan and Ashley Delaney of Australia, who are on 105 points each, while Hungary's David Verraszto is third on 93 points. Chad Le Clos is fourth on 81 points and looks to be out of the running. But despite the title being out of his grasps, Le Clos will still be keen to defend his dominance in Dubai, where he won his first World Championship title in 2010 at the short course (25-metre pool) World Championships.
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