Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik 2022 Choice of Champions LEADERBOARD

17yr old Tunisian 49erFX helm drowns in training accident in fresh winds

by Souhail Khmira/Sail-World.com/nz 11 Apr 19:13 PDT 12 April 2022
Eya and Sarra Guezguez (TUN) clear the start line - competing in the 49erFX at Tokyo2020 - Enoshima - August 2021 © Richard Gladwell - Sail-World.com/nz

Sport Nation has reported, since confirmed, by the Tunisian Olympic Committee and International Olympic Committee, that Tunisian 49erFX sailor Eya Guezguez tragically died, as a result of an on the water training accident, while practicing with her twin sister Sarra on Sunday.

The 17-year-old, who competed at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the age of 16, passed away following an accident where the 49erFX capsized, wrote Tunisian journalist Souhail Khmira.

Her sister, who sailed as crew for Eya survived the tragedy. They were amongst the youngest athletes to compete at Tokyo2020. The Guezguez sisters finished in 21st place in the 49er FX event, finishing only five of the 12 races, but were keen to return for Paris2024 and improve their August 2021 performance.

Guezguez was the youngest Tunisian at last year's Tokyo Olympics and competed in the women's 49er FX category with her twin sister Sarra, who is two minutes older. They qualified for the African continent Tokyo2020 place at the 2021 Mussanah Open, held in Oman.

The Tunisian Olympic Committee (CNOT) has described her death as "a tragedy in the sports scene" while the Tunisian Minister of Sports and Youth paid tribute to Guezguez and sent his condolences to her family.

Olympic debutants Eya and Sarra, both then aged 16, finished bottom of their event in 21st position in Tokyo.

"I am shocked by the news of sailor Eya Guezguez's death," International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said.

"She was an inspiring talent and role model for her athletes' generation.

"Eya Guezguez's participation at Tokyo 2020 alongside her twin sister Sarra will continue to motivate girls everywhere. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and the Olympic community in Tunisia."

CNOT's Facebook page said that rising star Guezguez died while training for upcoming regional and international competition.

The 49erFX was being sailed by Eya and Sarra capsized in fresh winds, with CNOT president Mehrez Boussayan telling local radio the sisters' coach was alongside them in a RIB at the time.

The coach reportedly managed to help Sarra flee the tangled rigging before then locating Eya, on whom he attempted CPR but in vain.

The young Olympian was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead after drowning.

The details surrounding the tragedy remain unclear, but some reports indicate the accident was a result of sailing in strong winds. Although well under the age limit for Youth Sailing Worlds, the two sisters did not compete in the 29er class in the 2021 event in Oman. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID Pandemic.

A second death occurred in the 49er class, in December 2021, when a 25yr old Indian sailor died after striking his head against the hull of the 49er. Army Yachting Node’s sailor Naveen Vashisht, lapsed into a coma for a week or so, and died at a private Mumbai hospital.

Vashisht's 49er boat had capsized on December 14 during the YAI Senior National Sailing Championships at the Girgaum Chowpatty beach.

The 25-year-old slipped and hit his head on the hull amid a sudden gust of wind. His co-sailor Vishal Singh was, however, safe.

An investigation has been launched into the Tunisian incident, which occurred a few hours before Muslims were due to break their fast on the ninth day of Ramadan.

World Sailing has responded to the tragic incident sailing.org/2022/04/12/tragic-loss-of-olympic-sailor-eya-guezguez

Related Articles

One year to go until 2023 Allianz Sailing Worlds
Making history by being the first to include Para World Sailing events On 10 August 2023, 1,400 of the world's best sailors will take to the waters of the port of Scheveningen in The Hague, The Netherlands, for two life-changing prizes. Posted on 10 Aug
49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 Junior Worlds
A total of 140 teams from 30 nations raced at Lago di Como The 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 fleets completed the biggest ever Junior World Championship for each of the classes. A total of 140 teams from 30 nations raced in the 2022 edition from Lago di Como, Italy. Posted on 8 Aug
Chasing Tokyo documentary
Revealing the rollercoaster journey of British Olympic sailors The rollercoaster journey of the British Sailing Team and its Tokyo 2020 athletes is revealed in new behind-the-scenes film Chasing Tokyo, now released. Posted on 29 Jul
2023 49er, FX & Nacra 17 Euros set for Portugal
Vilamoura Sailing will host the event in October of 2023 The 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 Classes have agreed with Vilamoura Sailing who will host the European Championship in October of 2023. Posted on 19 Jul
Sail Canada On Deck: Angela Chisholm
Interview with the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Worlds' General Manager The 2022 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships will be held in less than two months at St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia. Posted on 14 Jul
US Sailing reveals Paris 2024 Selection Procedures
The product of a lot of thoughtful work The 2024 Olympic Games will take place from July 26 - August 11, 2024. The Sailing events will be held in Marseille, France. Posted on 13 Jul
Ten Hove & Millen the top Canadians
With a 7th-place finish in the 49erFX at the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Europeans Ali Ten Hove (Kingston, ON) and Mariah Millen (Toronto, ON) were the top Canadian team in the 49erFX class with a 7th-place finish at the 2022 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championships which ended Sunday in Aarhus, Denmark. Posted on 11 Jul
Top ten finishes for Australia at 2022 Europeans
Jim Colley and Shaun Connor in the 49er class produced the best result of the Australians Three Australian crews in the 49er and Nacra 17 classes made it through to their respective Medal Races on the final day of the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championships in Aarhus, Denmark Posted on 11 Jul
2022 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Europeans Day 6
Olympic sailing is hugely competitive, but dominating performances, and seasons do happen. Racing has concluded in the weather disrupted combined European Championships for the 49er, 49er FX and Nacra 17 classes at Aarhus, Denmark. Tokyo2020 Gold medalists Ruggero Tita & Caterina Banti (Nacra 17) turned in an outstanding performance. Posted on 11 Jul
Kiwi Nacra 17 crew win Silver in Aarhus
New Zealand crews make Medal Races on final day of Europeans and win Silver in the Nacra 17 Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson finished second in the Nacra 17 at the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, rounding out a block of racing in Europe that has seen their consistent progression through the rankings. Posted on 10 Jul
Selden 2020 - FOOTERHella Dual Colour Floodlights - 728 x 90px - 004 gif BottomHenri-Lloyd 2022 August Summer Sale - SW FOOTER