Chad le Clos (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former SA Olympic gold medal winner, Ryk Neethling, has backed Chad le Clos to win three medals at next month's Rio Olympics.
Speaking at the Mercedes-Benz and Laureus Sport for Good breakfast at Century City in Cape Town on Friday, Neethling backed Le Clos to win both the men's 100m and 200m butterfly titles, as well as medal in the men's 200m freestyle.
However, Neethling cautioned against three men standing in Le Clos' way of achieving double butterfly gold.
The greatest Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, competing in his final Games before retirement, looms large.
Phelps won gold in the 100m in London in 2012, before being pipped to the finish in the 200m by Le Clos.
Hungary's Laszlo Cseh poses perhaps the greatest threat, while Singapore's Joseph Schooling has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, warned Neethling.
At 30, Cseh is also in the twilight of his career, but, tellingly, boasts a victory over Le Clos in the 200m at last year's FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia.
Bookmakers have Phelps as a marginal favourite in the 100m, ahead of Le Clos and Cseh, while in the 200m Cseh is favoured for the gold, ahead of Phelps and Le Clos.
The men's 200m freestyle is wide open, with Chinese 'bad boy' Sun Yang currently the man to beat according to the bookies.
Le Clos is at best joint fifth-favourite for the gold.