Zaira Akua Forson of Ghana has made a full recovery after she and seven other female swimmers were attacked by Jellyfish in their open water event at the just ended African Beach Games in Hammamet Tunisia.
The 18 year old Spain based student, has since left the games village and returned to her base in Malaga with coach Nicole Kerr.
Overall, the games have been seen as highly successful with top ranked athletes performing at impressive international standards.
However, the bizarre Jellyfish incident was one of the most dramatic developments at the 15 disciplines sports festival.
One scene captured by Africa Media Channel (AMC) had Rwandan swimmer Claude Dusabe in pain after being stung multiple times by Jellyfish as he battled to complete the course.
The swimmer had never in his life encountered jellyfish in the sea whilst competing and was clueless about what was happening as he was bitten and stung mercilessly.
The 24 year old had to be rescued from the water just after the mid way point in order to receive treatment.
He was among several male athletes who could not complete the course and at least 12 female swimmers who also had to be pulled out for the water.
Out of a possible 17 female competitors, only five swimmers eventually completed the course with Amica De Jaegar of South Africa clinching gold in a time of 1 hour and 4 minutes.
The silver also went to South Africa’s Kate Beavon whilst Melek Wadar from Morocco took the bronze.
Meanwhile the coach of Zaira Forson expressed her satisfaction at the rapid response and calm attention of paramedics to the stricken swimmers but also relayed her disappointment that the 5 kilometers race was not called off entirely with so many swimmers unable to complete the course.
Coach Nicole Kerr confirmed that it was the very first time the Ghanaian swimmer had not completed a race in her entire career.
“It was an unusual experience for Zaira because she was battling with Jellyfish right from the start and this obviously went a long way to hinder her progress. Apart from the initial shock and pain from the stings, she recovered quickly. She will definitely come back stronger”
In the men’s race Phillip Sedler of Namibia took the gold in a time of 58 minutes and 54 seconds.
He was followed by swimmers from South Africa and Tunisia in silver and bronze positions respectively.
By Yaw Ampofo Ankrah / GOC Communications