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World News

Ecuadorian sprinter who became national hero at London 2012 shot dead


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An Ecuadorian Olympic sprint star who became a national hero at London 2012 has been fatally shot in his home city of Guayanquil, police say.

Alex Quinonez, 32, reached the finals of the 200m nine years ago, finishing seventh as he competed in a field that included athletics legend Usain Bolt.

He won bronze in the same event at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.

Local newspaper El Universo reported that Quinonez and another man died after they were shot on a street in the northwest section of the city at around 9.20pm on Friday.

Ecuador's Alex Quinonez and Jamaica's Usain Bolt compete in their men's 200m semi-final during the London 2012 Olympic Games
Ecuador's Alex Quinonez (L) and Jamaica's Usain Bolt compete in their men's 200m semi-final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 8, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (BRITAIN - Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT ATHLETICS)
Image: Quinonez and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt compete in their men’s 200m semi-final at London 2012

“[Quinonez] was hit in the face, the head, he has several wounds,” said Florida Guayas District police chief Giovanny Naranjo.

Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso said the killing “will not go unpunished”.

“With great sadness, we confirm the murder of our sportsman Alex Quinonez,” the country’s sports ministry said.

More on Ecuador

“We have lost a great sportsman, someone who allowed us to dream, who moved us… he was the greatest sprinter this country produced.”

The athlete’s death was also confirmed by the Ecuadorian Olympic Committee, which said the circumstances of his death “have not yet been clarified”.

The committee’s secretary general Andrea Sotomayor decried “so much evil” as she expressed sorrow and anger.

FILE PHOTO: Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Doha 2019 - Men's 200 Metres Final - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - October 2, 2019 Bronze Medalist Ecuador's Alex Quinonez celebrates on the podium REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari/File Photo
Image: Quinonez won the 200m bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships in Doha

“I don’t have words to express the sadness, helplessness and indignation that is overwhelming me,” she said.

“Alex Quinonez was the synonym of humility and a clear example of resilience.

“His loss leaves us with pain in our chests.”

Quinonez is the second international athlete killed this month, after Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop was found stabbed to death at her home.

Agnes Tirop following her bronze medal finish in the 10,000m in Doha in 2019
Image: Agnes Tirop was found dead in her home

Earlier this month, the Ecuadorian president declared a 60-day state of emergency to tackle drug trafficking and other crimes in the country.

He said the military and police will provide security on the streets.

Drug violence in Ecuadorian prisons has led to revolts following massacres by inmates of rival gangs linked to Mexican drug cartels.

About 230 people have been killed in those sites.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2021

Written by: Rother Radio News

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