Please select your home edition
Doyle Sails 2020 - Redefining Boundaries 728x90 TOP

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

by Souhail Khmira/ 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 -

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

Related Articles

Future plans for Kiel Week include kiting
2023 World Cup level with Olympic qualifier After the all-round success of Kiel Week 2022, the organisational team around Dirk Ramhorst is looking ambitiously to the future. In the coming year, the sporting importance will be further increased in order to attract even more top sailors to Kiel. Posted on 27 Jun
Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance win bronze
At the Kiel Week event in Germany Sisters Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance from Chester, N.S., won the bronze medal in 49erFX at the Kiel Week event which ended Sunday in Germany. Posted on 27 Jun
Stranksy wins ILCA 6 Gold at Kiel Week
Putting the finishing touches on a breakthrough regatta Sunday was all about the medal races in Kiel, with light winds delaying the starts until late morning when the both the temperature and the pressure ramped up. Posted on 27 Jun
128th Kiel Week overall
326 races completed in nine days on nine race courses The final day of Kiel Week once again reflected the past nine days of racing. The conditions varied from calm in the morning - with a corresponding delay in the start - to dream conditions in the last possible Medal Races of the Olympic classes. Posted on 26 Jun
Aussies book their places in Kiel Week medal races
Extremely light and shifty conditions on the final day of fleet racing Extremely light and shifty conditions on the final day of fleet racing in Kiel saw plenty of Australian athletes through to Sunday's medal races, and some fall frustratingly short of the medal race cut off. Posted on 26 Jun
128th Kiel Week Day 8
Light wind, tight fights Thin cloud cover prevented thermals from building up on the penultimate day of Kiel Week (SAT, 25 June). The attempts of starting the races had to be postponed. The wind remained light, so the foil classes (Nacra 17 and iQFoils) were cancelled. Posted on 25 Jun
Aussies feeling at home on Day Three of Kiel Week
With temperatures in the high twenties and sizeable swell across the racecourse With temperatures in the high twenties and sizeable swell across the racecourse, Kiel felt like Mooloolaba for the Australian Sailing Team (AST) and Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) athletes competing in Germany. Posted on 25 Jun
128th Kiel Week Day 7
Subtropical strong wind on Kiel Week's Friday A show of strength by Olympic champions Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti dominated the Nacra 17 competition at Kiel Week on Friday (24 June). The mixed duo from Italy followed a single slip-up (13th) with three victories on the day. Posted on 24 Jun
Strong start for Aussies at Kiel Week
Wednesday's light wind frustrations were forgotten Wednesday's light wind frustrations were forgotten for the Australian sailors competing at Kiel Week in Germany, as a thermal breeze came through mid-morning which built to 7-10 knots giving the fleets a full day of competition. Posted on 24 Jun
128th Kiel Week Day 6
Brilliant Thursday opens Olympic part of Kiel Week Brilliant Thursday opens Olympic part of Kiel Week, eight different nations wear yellow leader jerseys. Posted on 23 Jun
Hyde Sails 2021 - Basic FOOTERSea Sure 2020 - FOOTERArmstrong-A-Wing-728x90 gif BOTTOM