Tunisian swimmer Oussama Mellouli wants his sixth consecutive Olympic Games to be historic, despite similar circumstances before he came to Japan.
Mellouli, 37, is running the marathon in open water, after imposing himself among the world’s swimming stars by winning the 1500m gold in Beijing 2008 and the silver in 2012, before moving to the open water races, where he crowned the 10 km race in London 2012, to achieve a precedent by being crowned in the pool. And open water.
Mellouli’s relationship with the Tunisian Swimming Federation was strained before the Olympics, against the background of the value of the financial grants allocated to him to train in preparation for world competitions, and he announced his retirement after the crisis reached the courts before returning from it.
The “Mediterranean Shark”, who qualified in the Portuguese city of Setubal last June, said in a press statement: “The task will not be easy, I have experience, but I am still learning in marathons. It will be a difficult competition against young swimmers.”
Two days ago, he commented on his Instagram account: “We finished the first training in the free water competitions site, and, thank God, the conditions are good.”
Mellouli started his career in the 2000 Games in Sydney when he was a youngster, during which he also won the 1500m titles in the 2009 World Cup and the 5km open water title in the 2013 World Cup.
The young Tunisian swimmer, Ayoub El Hefnawi, gave his country a surprise medal in the 400m freestyle at the beginning of the current games.