70-year-old Tunisian Marathon Icy and Iron open-water swimmer Nejib Belhedi, to swim 155 km across the Sicilian channel from Italy to Tunisia.
Nejib Belhedi has been quiet during the outbreak, but he has been rigorously exercising during the quarantines and lockdowns in Tunisia and around the world.
In 1995, at the age of 43, the former Tunisian special forces military officer and two-time WOWSA Award winner performed a 72 km solo marathon swim from Pantelleria, Italy to Kelibia, Tunisia across the Sicilian Channel. But Belhedi has an even bigger ambition this year, as a 70-year-old swimmer. The swim is going to take place from June 15 to 18, 2022.
The State of Tunisia, the Ministry of Sport, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, and the Governorate of Sousse are supporting his forthcoming swim from Italy to Tunisia across the Mediterranean Sea. The organizers include La Société d’Etudes et de développement Sousse Nord and Hasdrubal Thalassa Yasmine Hammamet.
“I shall depart from the deep ravine of the Sicilian Channel behind southeast Pantelleria Island at the Italian – Tunisian sea border. My destination will be Yasmine Hammamet in Hasdrubal Beach, 155 kilometers away. I estimate that my unassisted passage in June or July of 2022 will take at least 60 hours. My overall message from the marathon swim is crystal clear: “Yes, the Tunisian Dream is possible!” One of the most delicate aspects of this concept is the illegal immigration of young people who risk their lives across the Mediterranean. The swim path from Italy to Tunisia, and not Tunisia to Italy, symbolizes this idea and promotes Tunisia as a tourist destination. This marathon swim is sponsored by Tunisia and other other organizations. Safety and protection will be provided by the Tunisian Sea Army, the Coast Guard, and the Civil Protection Agency with escort boats, the mothership Valentin and the L’Ancora as our reserve, navigated by escort pilot Chokri Ettaib.”