07/25/2021 12:14 AM
Updated 07/25/2021 1:20 AM
won gold on Sunday morning in Japan (Saturday night in Argentina) and gave the first big surprise by winning the 400-meter freestyle final of the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Hafnaoui, who disputes his first date of the five rings, thus became the
second Olympic champion of Tunisia
in swimming, following in the wake of Oussama Mellouli (two Olympic golds and one silver).
He finished with a time of 3m43s36, ahead of Australian
(3m43s52), silver, and American
I do not believe it, it
is incredible. Today I felt better in the water than yesterday (in the qualifications). I am an Olympic champion! I just put my head in the water and that's it. It's incredible, a dream come true," he said.
Hafnaoui's time in the Olympic final
is the third best of the year
in the distance.
Tunisian Ahmed Hafnaoui with his gold medal.
Photo Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP
Still in the water, Ahmed Hafnaoui can't believe his feat.
AP Photo / Petr David Josek
Hafnaoui, who "slipped" into the final
with the worst record of all the participants
, showed from the beginning that neither his registration time, nor the eighth street from which he started, were going to prevent him from standing up to the favorites.
As he already demonstrated at the conclusion of the first hundred meters, which he completed
in third position
only behind the Australian Elijah Winnington and the American Kieran Smith.
what seemed to be a mere anecdote
fruit of the impetus of the young North African swimmer, who will turn 19 next December,
soon became a real threat
to the top favorites.
If halfway through the test Ahmed Hafnaoui gave up just 20 hundredths with the leader of the test, Australian Jack McLoughlin, after completing the next hundred meters the Tunisian had only given up eleven hundredths more.
A distance that made the young Tunisian swimmer dream of the impossible, who arrived in Tokyo with the
world record of the year, after setting a time of 3m46s16 at the French Championships.
But today was the day for Hafnaoui,
who with a spectacular last
finally managed to overtake Australian McLoughlin and be crowned the new Olympic champion.
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