Swimming-Tunisia's 18-Year-Old Hafnaoui Wins Gold in Men's 400 Freestyle

Swimming-Tunisia's 18-Year-Old Hafnaoui Wins Gold in Men's 400 Freestyle By A Robin Rajkumar - July 25, 2021

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Swimming - Men's 400m Freestyle - Final - Tokyo Aquatics Centre - Tokyo, Japan - July 25, 2021. Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia celebrates after winning REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Tunisia's Ahmed Hafnaoui won the Olympic swimming gold medal in the men's 400m freestyle on Sunday in a time of 3:43.36.

Australia's Jack McLoughlin won the silver in 3:43.52 and American Kieran Smith took bronze in 3:43.94.

Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui was so shocked to see his name in the gold medal position for the 400m freestyle on Sunday he did not believe his eyes but after letting his stunning win at the Tokyo Olympics sink in he said he hoped to have made his family proud.

The 18-year-old, who finished ahead of Australia’s Jack McLoughlin and US swimmer Kieran Smith, said he was surprised even to be in the final, where he swam in the outside lane after being the slowest in qualifying.

“I believe it when I touched the wall ... I was so surprised I didn’t accept that,” he told a news conference.

“I dedicate (the gold) to all my family, my mom, my dad, my sisters, I wish they are proud of me.”

Hafnaoui powered home over the last 50m, touching the wall in 3:43.36, far quicker than the 3:45.68 he swam in qualifying on Saturday.

His gold medal is only the fifth won by a Tunisian athlete at the Olympics, but their third in swimming.

“I just can’t believe it. It’s a dream and it became true. It was great. it was my best race ever,” he said.

By A Robin Rajkumar - July 25, 2021

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