BEN PROUD was ‘gutted’ to be controversially disqualified from the 50m butterfly event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
World champion Proud was looking to defend the title he won in Glasgow four years ago.
He looked to have produced a stunning swim in the heats that broke the Commonwealth Games record and was not far off the world record.
But he and England officials were stunned when it appeared on the scoreboard that he had been disqualified.
England appealed the discussion but without success, leaving Plymouth Leander’s Proud to just concentrate on the 50m freestyle later in the competition.
Proud said: “Unfortunately, before the start signal I was judged to have moved my leg and the referee deemed this enough for a disqualification.
“I really wanted to come into the competition to retain both my titles and to have that opportunity taken away in the first heat is heart breaking.
“This has been four years of dedicated training and consistency – 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. But the motivation is already there to come back in four years’ time and regain my title in the event I love.
“This is now in the past – all I can do now is support my team mate Jacob. My focus is now fully on the 50m free.”
South African Chad le Clos, who Proud well beat in the heats, will now be favourite for gold, but he felt his rival should not have been disqualified.
“I’d rather come second to somebody that deserves to win,” said le Clos afterwards.
“I didn’t see him flinch at all. No one likes to see that. As you can see he’s clearly the best 50m fly swimmer in the world.”