VERSATILE swimmer Chad le Clos provided SA's only shining light on the third day of the London Olympic Games yesterday.

Le Clos finished second behind Takeshi Matsuda of Japan in the faster of two semifinals in the men's 200m butterfly, clocking a national record of one minute, 54,34 seconds (1:54.34).

Clos who was fifth in the men's 400m individual medley final on Saturday, qualified second fastest for tonight's final.

China stretched their lead at the top of the Olympic medal table yesterday, bagging three more golds as Games organisers moved to quell anger over empty seats. After a stellar opening weekend which saw them snaffle six titles, China scored wins in artistic gymnastics, diving and women's weightlifting to take their total to nine.

China's men's gymnasts had endured a disastrous qualifying round but swept back to form to win the all-round team event and retain the gold medal won in Beijing four years ago.

But the biggest cheers were reserved for Britain's gymnasts, who finished with a bronze - the hosts' first medal of any colour in the team event since the 1912 Games in Stockholm.

Britain had initially finished in the silver medal position before being relegated into bronze as Japan moved up to second after an appeal, with Ukraine dropping out of the medals altogether.

Elsewhere, Li Xueying set two new Olympic records as she crushed her rivals on the way to clinching gold in the women's weightlifting 58kg class.

The 22-year-old recorded a combined total of 246kg after snatching 108kg and registering a best in the clean and jerk of 138kg. Both the snatch and total were Olympic records.

At the Aquatics Centre, China's Cao Yuan and Zhang Yanquan took advantage of a blunder by British duo Tom Daley and Pete Waterfield to win the 10m platform synchronised diving gold.

The British duo had been on course for the host nations' first gold until a messy dive from Waterfield let the Chinese teenagers back into the contest.

The Chinese tallied 486,78 points ahead of Mexico's Ivan Navarro and German Sanchez, who took silver, and American bronze medallists David Boudia and Nicholas McCrory. Daley and Waterfield finished fourth.

Roger Federer set his sights on two gold medals after winning the third round of the Games with a 6-2 6-2 victory over France's Julien Benneteau while Serena Williams moved into the third round with a 6-2 6-3 victory against Urszula Radwanska just weeks after beating the Pole's older sister, Agnieszka, in the Wimbledon final.

Sapa-AFP