Who are the Tunisian stars set to shine brightest in Tokyo?

Who are the Tunisian stars set to shine brightest in Tokyo?
The Tunisian Olympic Team are headed for the Tokyo Olympics and hoping to lift their nation's spirits by securing medals across a range of events.
3 min read
The Tunisian Olympic Team hopes to bring back medals from the Tokyo Games [Getty Images]

Tunisia is hoping to leave its mark on the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, that are set to take place from the 23rd of July to the 8th of August of this year. 

63 Tunisian sportsmen and women are participating in the Olympics Games covering a total of 16 disciplines. Of these disciplines, volleyball is the only team sport to go through to the games, unlike other popular team sports - football, handball and basketball -  which did not make it through to the qualifying rounds.

Tunisia’s team will take part in 15 individual sports: athletics, kayak/canoeing, rowing, swimming, archery, shooting, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, boxing, fencing, sailing, wrestling, weightlifting, and judo.  

This will be the first time women will outnumber men in Tunisia's Olympic team. The team are also expected to be represented by a record number of athletes, 51 in total, competing in individual sports and the pressure is on for these athletes to lead their nation to gold. 

Tennis star, Ons Jabeur ,is currently the favourite to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, despite Tunisia failing to win any medals for tennis in past Olympics tournaments. Jabeur, who is currently ranked 24th in the world, has achieved huge success this year – she won the Birmingham Championships and reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals, instilling faith in her country that she may deliver a historical achievement in this Olympics.

Award-winning fencer, Ines Boubakri, is determined to repeat her success in the Rio De Janeiro Olympic session of 2016, where she won bronze.  She has expressed that her goal in the upcoming Tokyo Games is to bring home another medal for Tunisia – hopefully this time it will be gold. 

Female wrestler Marwa Amri aspires to win gold in Tokyo after she was won a bronze medal in the last Olympic Games. Amri is considered as one of the stars in women’s wrestling, particularly in the 62kg category.

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As for other potential medals for the Tunisian team, all eyes are on, Karem Ben Hnia, in weightlifting and Tunisian fencing champion, Sarah Basbas. Tunisia is also placing its hopes on some of the younger qualifiers like Taekwondo athlete, Mohamed Khalil Jendoubi, and professional swimmer Ahmed Ayoub Hafnaoui.

Despite the Tunisian team having their eyes on gold, they do not have high hopes for the track events , where champion sprinter and Olympic medallist ,Habiba Ghribi, has recently retired. However, the nation is optimistic that judoka, Nihel Cheikh Rouhou, is capable of securing a place on the podium, having won gold and bronze medals at the African and World Championships in the last few years.

This article is part of The New Arab's special coverage of the Tokyo Olympics. Click here to read the whole series.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition. To read the original article click here.