Gold to the Tunisian baby Hafnaoui. The blue: “I’m sorry, I would have liked to do more”. Silver to the Australian McLoughlin, bronze to the American Smith
by our correspondent Stefano Arcobelli
Incredible 400 freestyle at the Olympic Games: the gold that belonged to Thorpe ends in Tunisia thanks to Ahmed Hafnaoui, born in 2002. The Tunisian was last qualified in 3’45 “68, he comes from open water and can be considered the new Mellouli, the one who put an end to the reign of the Australian Grant Hackett in Beijing 2008. It also comes from the bottom, where Mellouli himself later won gold in London. A gold in 3’43 “36, a time trial that mockingly recalls the old Italian record of Gabriele Detti, unfortunately only sixth in 3’44” 88 after a slow race (55 “05 to 100, 1’52” 224 to 200, 2’49 “36 to 300, 3’17” 43 to 350): not even the last pool was enough, which took him from 7th to 3rd place in the Rio Games or on the occasion of the last two world bronzes. The best Detti would also return to this unprecedented podium dominated by the Tunisian flag. Hafnaoui makes fun of Jack McLoughlin, the silver Australian in 3’43 ”52 and says no to the twenty year old American Kieran Smith, author of 3’43” 94; under the podium the first two of the heats and with the same time of 3’44 ”07, the German Muhlleitner and the Austrian Auböck. Said disappointed no less than Elijaw Winnington, the Australian who swam 3’42 ”65 at the Adelaide Trials.
Often ironic, an Inter fan by choice (“I chose a team that makes me suffer but when we rejoice like this year is the best”), a true Leghorn always ready to use the weapon of irony, passionate about fashion and still only too much swimmer to consider him a superstar, he has been swimming since he was 8 years old and chose his destiny in the pool, where his mother Paola, Stefano Morini’s sister, the coach who is also an uncle, worked. Since he was a child he dueled with Gregorio Paltrinieri in the 1500s and the maximum was for him to share the joy of the Olympic podium after the thirty laps. He was called Bro, the former twin Greg who in May 2020 after the lockdown decided to take other routes and leave Ostia. For Detti it was a bad blow, even if as a training opponent he found an excellent Marco De Tullio, world finalist. From the playstation games against Greg in the federal center guesthouse, where Gabri arrived in January ten years ago, to a gradual maturation full of medals and injuries. Since 2012 he has been on the European podium, and in the 400 sl he won the first continental gold before Rio. In 2017 in Budapest, he won world gold in the 800, the neo-Olympic specialty and in which he enjoyed alternating and breaking the European record with Gregorio.
Up to Tokyo
In 2018 he had to skip the European year due to an inflammation behind him that just didn’t want to go out. Another year without swimming after 2015 still with left shoulder problems. In 2019 in Gwangju, the last world gem always in the 400 sl. After the empty year, the start of the season had started with a positive virus, and even the vaccine caused him problems with a high fever and a week off training. In short, the path to the glory of Gabriele has never been easy, even if the physical problems have never brought it down. A warrior also in rehabilitation. Gifted with a great freestyle, in 2019 he snatched the Italian silver record in Sydney of 3’43 ”40 from Rosolino, improving it by 4 cents and then dropping to South Korea to 3’43” 23. The rest is today’s history …
“I’m not looking for excuses – said Detti hotly – but this has been a really strange year: many stops. Too bad, it was within my reach: it is a thrown away opportunity”. So Gabriele Detti after the disappointment of sixth place in the final of the 400 freestyle at the Tokyo 2020 Games “.
July 25, 2021 (change July 25, 2021 | 04:41)
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