Nejib Belhedi Preparing For Another Major Mediterranean Sea Swim
Nejib Belhedi is undergoing his final preparations to attempt a 155 km crossing from Italy to his native Tunisia sometime during his window of June 15th to 18th. He was greeted and supported by the Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Tunisia, H.E. Mr. Kamal Daqish today.
The 69-year-old Belhedi is a former Lt. Colonel in the Tunisian Army and was voted as the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year. His attempt was planned for 2021, but in the midst of the pandemic, it was postponed a year.
He explains, “I know my expected swim from Europe to Africa (Tunisia) is a great challenge. In 1995, I swam 72 km from Pantelleria, Italy to Kelibia, Tunisia at the age of 45, a Sicilian Channel Swim. However, I am now 69 years old instead of being 45 in the old days. 155 km is double the distance that I swam in 1995. In addition, I have experienced open heart surgery and a hip replacement surgery. But, I believe that the true change comes from the inside, emanating to the outside, and then back inside as a continuous process.”
One of his sponsors Skycam produced a short training film of his preparations at the Hasdrubal Thalassa & Spa Yasmine Hammamet Hôtel, his land training base to ultimately cross the Gulf of Hammamet. Belhedi explains, “I have developed my support team and readiness that makes this Europe-to-Tunisia Swim possible as an entire nation that works together. In addition to SkyCam and Hasdrubal Yasmine Hammamet, support has been provided by the Ministry of Defense (Sea Army), the Governorate of Sousse, Notre Grand Bleu, the Tourism Ministry, the Office National du Tourisme Tunisien Sport Ministry, SINSO, and other private sponsors.”
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