Arab-Israeli Marc Hinnawi on Wednesday won the gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle heat at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Festival underway in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Hinnawi, 16, set a new world record for his age group, finishing the race in 3:57.73 minutes, Israel’s i24 news website reported.
The Jaffa-born athlete’s victory came as a surprise, according to i24.Â In the preliminary round he came in a modest 7th, with a time of 4:03:14.
After being crowned the gold medalist, Hinnawi celebrated with his teammates and family, saying: “I am very happy. I can’t express my emotions in words. I am very proud of this achievement.”
Hinnawi’s coach, Meir Levy, said: “We made all the preparation, the swimmer did not give up at any stage, and the results speak for themselves. It is an exciting moment for Israeli swimming and for the whole swimming delegation.”