Ahmed Hafnaoui, the young swimmer from Tunisia who impressed the world by winning the gold medal at Tokyo 2020


He reminds us that an Olympic champion can come from any nation and there is no small competitor.

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4 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.


In the broadcast of the men’s 400-meter freestyle event, the commentators focused on the stars, such as Australian star Jack McLoughlin or American Kieran Smith . However, the surprise came from outside lane number 8: Ahmed Hafnaoui who arrived to engrave his name in gold .

Unknown to many, 18-year-old Ahmed went from being in the worst position of the pool at the Tokyo Aquatic Center , to becoming an Olympic champion. Tunisia adds its fifth gold medal and the third in swimming. The Tunisian won by stopping the clock in 3 minutes 43.26 seconds.

In a very close joust, Ahmed squeezed in the last 50 meters and that was when the media began to pay attention to him. Together with professional swimmers who have years of experience and have economics, politics, technology and history in their favor, the Tunisian managed to impress with effort, lungs and will to the end.

With a wide smile he expresses his feelings and from the stands, alone, his coach explodes in jubilation. Unlike his competitors, the young man presents himself in a simple way to receive his medal with his tennis shoes, a shirt and shorts, as well as his mask that he keeps in his pocket.

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The young medalist began swimming at age 6 , when his father enrolled him in a swimming club. And although he has limited experience in international competitions as eighth place in the 400 free of the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 and seventh in the 800 meters, his love for the sport comes from his father. He was part of the Tunisian national basketball team.

“I can not believe it. It is a dream and it has come true. It was great, it was my best race ” , he commented after the test. He really kept repeating that he couldn’t believe his result. In 2019, he told La Presse that he was aiming to win his first gold medal at the 2024 Olympics in Paris .

However, his family always believed in Ahmed’s ability. In social networks a video that shows them shouting euphoric over the triumph of the young swimmer went viral.

Their history reminds us that champions can come from anywhere , regardless of their age and even their experience, but rather their willpower.





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