Commonwealth Games: Chad le Clos would 'rather come second' to Ben Proud than not race him at all

2018 Commonwealth Games
Venue: Gold Coast, Australia Dates: 4-15 April
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV and Red Button with extra streams on Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and app; listen on Radio 5 live; follow text updates online. Times and channels

South Africa's Chad le Clos says he would "rather come second" to England's Ben Proud than not race against him at the Commonwealth Games.

Proud was disqualified from the pair's 50m butterfly heat for a false start, moments after setting what would have been a Games record time.

The England team appealed against the decision but were unsuccessful.

"I didn't see him flinch at all. As you can see he's clearly the best 50m fly swimmer in the world," Le Clos said.

Proud won the heat on the Gold Coast in 22.84 seconds but was judged to have moved his leg early on the starting block.

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The 23-year-old said it was "heartbreaking" to miss out on the chance to retain his Commonwealth title.

"I feel I am in the shape of my life and am gutted to miss out on the opportunity to show what I can do," he said.

"But the motivation is already there to come back in four years' time and regain my title in the event I love."

The disqualification meant that Le Clos qualified first in the heat with a time of 23.53.

"I'd rather come second to somebody that deserves to win, but we'll see what happens," Le Clos, 25, said.

"No-one likes to see that, but whether he's there or not, I'm going to swim to win."

Le Clos is competing in seven events in Australia as he looks to add to his tally of 12 medals.