Beijing: First gold medal for Arabs won by Tunisian swimmer
Oussama Mellouli has won Tunisia's first Olympic swimming gold medal since 1968, denying Aussie Grant Hackett's bid for a third consecutive title in the 1,500-meter freestyle.
According to the AP, Mellouli held off Hackett in the closing meters of the grueling race Sunday, finishing in 14 minutes, 40.84 seconds. Hackett earned the silver in 14:41.53.
Mellouli, who trains in Southern California, is coming off a suspension after testing positive for amphetamines at a meet in November 2006. He became his country's first swimming world champion with a come-from-behind win in the 800m freestyle with Hackett trailing in seventh at last year's world championships in Melbourne.
He was subsequently stripped of the title after testing positive for amphetamines and only completed his ban in May in time to swim in Beijing.
"I've been waiting for this moment for two years. It's the redemption I wanted and I got it," Mellouli said, according to AFP. "This year was difficult because of the (drugs) penalty, but I thank God for the talent I've been given. At the Olympic Games anything can happen. It was a miracle and for once the miracle was for me."