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Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui crowned world champion

After securing the silver in the 400m freestyle just three days earlier, the 20-year-old Tunisian swimmer managed to clinch the gold in the men’s 800m freestyle on Wednesday at the World Swimming Championships 2023 in Fukuoka, Japan.

A tight race

The final was a nail-biting competition, with Hafnaoui engaged in a fierce race against Samuel Short from Australia. Completing the final in an impressive 7 minutes and 37 seconds, the Tunisian swimmer finished 0.76 seconds ahead of Short. 

“It’s too much adrenaline when you see all these guys next to you just battling for the gold, especially the 400  world champion Sam Short, when you know he’s pretty fast in the last 100 so you just wait to the last 50 and try to win,” revealed Hafnaoui in a post-race press conference.

“We were chatting a lot about going as fast as I can in the last 50 and I think I have more speed than the other guys. I just put my head in the water and just went fast.”



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Une publication partagée par World Aquatics (@world_aquatics)

Tunisia’s new swimming star

Hafnaoui’s journey to world prominence began as he secured a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, in 2020, when he was only 18 years old. The 800m world champion is now eyeing the approaching 2024 Paris Olympics, which would be another opportunity to seal his name as a world-class athlete.

This achievement holds historical significance for Tunisia, as Hafnaoui becomes the second Tunisian world champion after Oussama Mellouli, who was crowned in the 1,500m freestyle back in 2009, a title Hafnaoui hopes to win in Tokyo in three days’ time.



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Published on 26 July 2023