My Tunisia

Adel Chihi: How sport can make a difference in Tunisia

The story of one man who chose to leave Tunisia’s sport cafe culture behind and live the experience instead.

Bordering the Mediterranean sea in the north, Algeria and Libya to the south, the Tunisian landscape boasts great physical diversity, including a range of hills, some of which it shares with its neighbours.

However, the quality cliffs and rock formations were just that – until very recently, when rock climbers and other extreme sport fanatics realised the unspoiled potential.

Adel Chihi is one of these sport lovers.

Tunisia needs people who love their country and want to work for it.

by Adel Chihi

Chihi is not your “typical” Tunisian man. He won’t be found spending hours at the local Tunis cafe analysing a football game.

An engineer by profession, Chihi decided his passion for extreme sport had to be fed, in spite of daily commitments and challenges.

Currently, he partakes in slacklining, explores caves, practices yoga and is also a rock climber.

Before the 2011 revolution, enthusiasts required special permits to climb the country’s mountains, creating yet another barrier to popularising the sport, says Chihi.

“In the past, when we went caving, we faced issues regarding authorisation. There were only two associations that were known and authorised. Dates and names were required and everyone had to go to the police station to be checked,” he says.

Not only did the 2011 revolution help ease these restrictions, but it also paved the way for opportunities that didn’t even seem to exist before the uprising.

“Revolution or not, it was a good thing anyway when you think about the old regime. I wasn’t aware of it. I became aware when the revolution took place. I realised that the old regime had restricted many things,” continues Chihi. “Every dreamer aims to see his passion become realised in the country he lives in. Developing extreme sports is my dream at the moment.” 

Chihi is hoping to work towards achieving his dream by teaching at a local climbing gym and leading groups in climbing new routes and rock faces on weekends. He shares this vision with like-minded friends, who understand the responsibility that every Tunisian has in making these dreams a reality for their country.

“Sports require initiative and a mental and physical balance,” says Khaled, a caving friend of Chihi’s. “It’s our duty, all of ours to mentor while keeping our distance. With a vision and a perspective for the future generation.” 

“My Tunisia is the rising generation. My Tunisia is extreme sports. My Tunisia is everything,” says Chihi.