Tunisian wins historic silver at Winter Youth Olympics


Tunisia’s Jonathan Lourimi earned his country its first ever Winter Youth Olympics medal on January 24th, according to The National.

The 17-year-old finished in second place in bobsleigh, 1.33 seconds behind South Korea’s So Kaehwan and followed by China’s Chi Xiangyu. Lourimi qualified for the games in Gangwon, South Korea, after finishing first in the qualification race in Pyeongchang last November.

“I never thought this was possible when I started with this sport one year ago. And now I’m here with a silver medal. It’s crazy. And yeah, I’m just going to enjoy the moment,” Lourimi told Olympics.com.

The silver medallist said he will turn his attention to competing at the 2026 Winter Olympics, adding: “I am going to work hard for that, I will enjoy this moment for some weeks, and then keep on the hard work.”

READ: Tunisian director nominated for two Oscars

Bobsleigh is a winter sport invented in Switzerland in the 1860s. Teams or individuals race down narrow, twisted, frozen tracks on a sled.

Tunisia sent a team of three bobsledders including Lourimi and 15-year-olds Sophie Ghorbal and Beya Mokrani.

Ghorbal stated: “No one knows bobsleigh and winter sports in Tunisia. I introduced the sport and the culture to our country. It’s great to have new opportunities for a country that doesn’t have any snow.”

Tunisia’s bobsleigh coach and coordinator of its Winter Youth Olympic Games Committee, Iheb Ayed, said the team’s win was beyond imaginable.

He stated: “We would never have imagined that we will be participating let alone win in these games in front of major European competitors,” before crediting Lourimi’s calm demeanour and high level of sportsmanship for the historic win.

Ayed added that Tunisia’s participation and training process was fostered and sponsored by South Korea’s Pyeongchang 2018 Legacy Foundation. The initiative allowed the team to travel abroad, training in South Korea, Norway, Austria, and the US.

READ: Tunisian football chief arrested in corruption scandal

The coach credits Lourimi’s mother for his participation in the games, stating: “Jonathan is also an ice hockey player. In 2014, his mother sent me his picture in an ice ring saying that she hopes one day her son would play for Tunisia’s ice hockey team.”

Ayed posted on Facebook in search of potential athletes to represent Tunisia in the winter games. Lourimi’s mother saw the post and was put in touch with the coach, eventually leading to the silver medallist’s recruitment to the Tunisia team.

The National


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

[mc4wp_form id="206"]