Dreams really do come true. Well that’s certainly the case for Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui. He couldn’t believe he won gold in Sunday’s men’s 400m freestyle final. The 18-year-old had swam the slowest time to qualify in the semi-final heats just the day before, so he wasn’t expected to be a strong contender for a medal.
Hafnaoui won the Gold medal by just 0.16 seconds ahead of Australia’s Jack McLoughlin who won Silver, and Bronze medalist Kieran Smith from the U.S. “I was surprised myself. It’s unbelievable. I just can’t believe it,” said Hafnaoui, who won with a time of 3 minutes 43.36 seconds. “I dedicate (the gold) to all my family, my mum, my dad, my sisters, I wish they are proud of me.”
His family’s reaction to his win is priceless. Check out the video below.
He was lined up in Lane 8 – the outer lane, which is often considered the worst lane to be in. You have less visibility of your competition in an outer lane and have to contend with “wall effects”, the result of numerous swimmers having their wake wash hit against the edges of the pool.
But Hafnauoi did the impossible and beat the odds to become a Gold Champion Swimmer. He is now deemed “Hero of the Weekend”. It’s moments like this that emphasise with the Olympics is really about – creating heroes overnight, bringing glory to their country and making their families proud.
Congratulations Ahmed Hafnaoui!