Swimming: Tunisian Olympic champion Hafnaoui raises doubts about title defence

Olympic 400m freestyle champion Ahmed Hafnaoui said on Wednesday he was unsure he would be fit to defend his title in Paris.

AFP , Wednesday 8 May 2024,

Ahmed Hafnaoui
Tunisia s Ahmed Hafnaoui celebrates after winning the final of the men s 400m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo. -AFP pic


"I'm currently suffering from an injury, and I don't know whether or not I will participate in the Olympics," the 21-year-old Tunisian swimmer said in a phone interview.

He did not give details of the injury.

Mehrez Boussayene, head of the Tunisian Olympic Committee, said "nothing is confirmed", adding the swimmer had a "developing injury".

"More than just medals, we seek above all the well-being of this young man who brought us so much joy," said Boussayene. "He will have other world competitions."

After winning gold in Tokyo as an 18-year-old in 2021, Hafnaoui won the 800m and 1500m freestyle titles at last year's World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

If he swims in Paris this summer, he has a chance to match Tunisia's top Olympic swimmer Oussama Mellouli, who won two golds and a bronze over the 2008 and 2012 Games.

The country's top Olympic medallist is long-distance runner Mohammed Gammoudi, winner of four medals, including one gold in the 5,000m in 1968, between 1964 and 1972.

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