Tunisia: Wrestler Disappears in France, Pointing to Economic Hardships

by | Feb 6, 2024 | Diplomacy, Economic, Social, Tunisia


On 5 February 2024, an official from the Tunisian Wrestling Federation announced that an athlete sent to France for training had disappeared and not returned to Tunisia with the delegation of athletes and coaches. 

The athlete had reportedly been sent to Nice for training in preparation for the upcoming Olympic qualifying events. However, upon arriving in France, the athlete disappeared.  

The Federation official confirmed that the wrestler received a monthly stipend of 100 Tunisian dinars. 

In mid-2023, a similar incident occurred with an Egyptian national team wrestler who was participating in an official event in Tunisia. He was able to acquire his passport and traveled to France where he remained, eventually releasing a video from France. 


The disappearance of the Tunisian wrestler in France points to the broadening and deepening economic strains on the country that lead many young people to assess their best options to be outside of Tunisia’s borders. In many cases, this results in attempts at clandestine migration. 

As Tunisia struggles economically, it will likely continue to struggle to see sufficient funds filter down to its national-level athletes. These athletes receive significant exposure to the world outside of Tunisia, including via opportunities to travel and interact with athletes from other countries. These interactions can likely make more apparent the discrepancies in support, standard of living, and opportunities provided. 

Such incidents cause reputational damage to Tunisia internationally, reinforcing perceptions that the country is working to counter and correct. 


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