Tunisia secures second Olympic medal
By Monia Ghanmi for Magharebia in Tunis – 07/08/12
Tunisian runner Habiba Ghribi on Monday (August 6th) won the silver medal in the women's 3,000m steeplechase at the 2012 London Olympics. She clocked 9:08.37, behind winner Yulia Zaripova of Russia (9:06.72), setting a new national record.
"It is a big achievement for me," said 28-year-old Ghribi. "I hope to achieve a world record in the future."
Ghribi's silver was Tunisia's second medal, following a bronze brought home by swimmer Oussama Mellouli in the men's 1,500m freestyle.
"Winning a silver medal in the Olympics was not easy; this medal came after a lot of work," Ghribi said after her decoration. "I thought at one time that I could qualify for the gold, but I was injured at the beginning of the year and had to wait to regain my form."
She concluded by saying, "I am very happy with the silver medal. It is a historic medal for Tunisians and Tunisia, especially for women, and I hope that I will bring one day a gold medal to my country."
Ghribi already won the first gold medal for Tunisia at the IAAF World Championships, which were held last August in South Korea. She is also the first Tunisian woman to win a medal at the Olympics. Her medal was the first won by an Arab woman at the London games.
Tunisia still has hope for other medals, with its handball team achieving a historic breakthrough on Monday by reaching the quarter-finals for the first time. They now rank fourth in their group with four points given two victories over Britain (34-17) and Argentina (25-23) and three defeats against France (25-19), Sweden (21-28), and Iceland (22-32).
Coach Alain Portes described this qualification as a great accomplishment, saying, "Tunisia is the only candidate from outside Europe, and this in itself is a source of pride for us and confirms the value of our team and their eligibility to compete for the decoration."
As for the quarter-finals, the coach said he expected to face Croatia. "We do not have anything to lose, and we will not compete under pressure," he added.
Tunisia will face off next Wednesday in the quarter-finals against Croatia, Spain or Denmark. Tunisia is the only Arab representative in handball at the London Games. The team, which is making its third appearance after 1972 in Munich and Sydney in 2000, will also represent the African continent in the next round.
Subscribe to our newsletter and get Magharebia's latest articles delivered to your inbox.