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Tunisia's distance swimming star: Oussama Mellouli sets sights on Sun Yang

08-07-2013 15:55 BJT

To the pool now, and China’s Sun Yang may have dominated the indoor distance events at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, but Tunisia’s Ossama Mellooli who won gold in the 5k open water swim as well as the 1500m gold in Beijing is setting his sights on beating China’s swimming sensation.

Barcelona is a special place for Tunisia swimmer Oussama Mellouli. Ten years ago, Mellouli won his first major medal here - a bronze here in the 400 meter medley – finishing behind Michael Phelps. A decade on and after winning gold medals in Beijing and London, he’s still finding his way to the podium - having won the 5 kilometer open water title and picking up a bronze in the 10K race. Even though he didn’t meddle in the indoor events. It’s been a satisfactory fortnight.

"Obviously I have been having a lot fun lately in the open water. I won the Olympic event last year in the 10K and everybody was thinking he kind of lucked out in that one event. Everybody was not sure if I was going to be consistent in it. I think this year, I have proved I am a consistent threat on those events. I took a lot of time off and I gained 15-20 pounds and had to lose it in the last two months. So off of just two months of solid work, to come out here in barcelona to win a gold and bronze in the 5 and 10K is just fantastic for me."said Oussama Mellouli, the 5K Open Water gold medalist.

Mellouli won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 1500 meters beating a 16 year old Sun Yang in the process. But times have changed since then. Sun Yang took gold in London, while Mellouli could only manage bronze. And Mellouli knows he has a real fight on his hands if he’s to challenge the China swimmer in the future.

"Sun is just on top form. It’s awesome watching him do what he does. No question about it he is the man to beat and we are just chasing after him. I think its great for the sport and obviously he is making a lot of people happy in China and very proud. he is a good kid and we are good friends. I am excited to race him the future. i think we have a three year plan to give him a run for his money."said Oussama Mellouli.

Mellouli’s gold medal here in Barcelona comes while his country faces an uncertain future. He admits its not been easy to focus on swimming following the recent political turmoil in Tunisia. But he hopes his success here will at least give the country a small measure of joy.

"I am accomplishing all of these things at a time when my country needs a source of inspiration truly so it’s awesome getting all that feedback and all that love back home. It’s definitely a tough time and a big test for tunisia as a country. We are a young democracy and hopefully we will come to a full democracy with our Government and our people and hopefully we get that sorted pretty soon."said Oussama Mellouli

As for his swimming goals, Mellouli wants to repeat – if not improve - on his heroics at London 2012 where he became the first person to win medals in both pool and open water swimming.. and to keep the Tunisia flag flying.

 

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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