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Tunisian wins gold at world swimming championships

Tunisia has a history of success in swimming, and athletes from the North African country have also performed well in tennis and soccer recently.

A Tunisian swimmer won gold in an international swimming championship on Wednesday, adding to the North Africa country’s history of success in the sport.

Ahmed Hafnaoui won the men’s 800-meter freestyle competition at the World Aquatics Championships in Japan, finishing with a time of 7:37. He defeated American defending champion Bobby Finke, who finished in third, while Australia’s Samuel Short came in second.

Hafnoui also won silver in the men’s 400-meter freestyle competition, losing to Short but coming one spot ahead of German Lukas Martens.

The World Aquatics Championships is held every two years and features a variety of water sports.

Hafnaoui, 20, is from the small town of Metlaoui in central Tunisia’s inland desert region, far from the Mediterranean coast.

Hafnoui joined Tunisia’s national swimming program when was 12 and competed in the youth Olympics in 2018. His father, Mohamed Hafnaoui, played for Tunisia’s national basketball team, according to a profile on the Olympics website.

Why it matters: The Tunisian surprised the world when he won the gold medal in the men’s 400-meter freestyle at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Hafnoui also took the silver in the men’s 1500-meter freestyle at the 2021 Short Course World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

His strong performance on the global stage follows that of Oussama Mellouli, the Tunisian swimming icon who won gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

Know more: Tunisia has had a degree of success in international sports recently. Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur reached the Wimbledon finals for the second year in a row this month.

Tunisia also defeated eventual runner-up France at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, though the Tunisian squad ultimately failed to make it out of the Group Stage.

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