Sports

Olympic sprint star shot and killed in Ecuador ‘assassination’

Tributes have been paid to athlete Alex Quinonez, after the former Olympic finalist and World Championship medalist was shot dead in his home city of Guayaquil in Ecuador

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Olympic sprinter Alex Quinonez has been killed in his home city of Guayaquil.

The death was confirmed by Roberto Ibáñez, president of the Guayas Sports Federation, as he expressed his pain on social media.

“My heart is totally shattered, I can’t find words to describe the emptiness I feel,” Ibáñez wrote on Twitter.

“I can not believe it, until when are we going to continue living so much evil and insecurity!” Added the sports leader, referring to the fact that the city of Guayaquil has become the focus of the rise in delinquency and crime.

“Rest in peace dear Alex, I will miss you all my life.”

The Ecuador Olympic Committee would






his passing also.







According to reports Quinonez, 32, was shot dead by unknown persons on Friday alongside a friend, outside a shopping centre in Colinas de la Florida, in Guayaquil. A police investigation into the tragedy is currently ongoing.

The Ecuadorian sprinter competed over 100m and 200m, and it was the latter event which signified his two career highs.

At the London 2012 Olympics, he clocked a national record of 20.28 seconds in the heats and went on to finish seventh in the final.

Then at the 2019 World Championships in Qatar, he won his only major medal as he took bronze behind Noah Lyles of the United States, and Andre De Grasse of Canada.









The replies to Ibáñez’s tweet emphasised the anguish that many of the athlete’s fans and fellow Ecuadoran’s are feeling, while fellow sprinter David Lima, of Portugal, was also among those to pay tribute.

He said: “Devastating news coming from Ecuador this morning. Alex Quinonez 2019 WC 200m Bronze medalist murdered in the street. Heartbreaking stuff.”

The Ministry of Sports also reacted, labelling Quinonez the “the best sprinter in the history of our country.”



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Image:

Getty Images for IAAF)




Quinonez also qualified for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer, but was prevented from competing after failing to report for a routine doping control.

As a result, the International Olympic Committee suspended his participation and although he appealed the ruling, the sanction was upheld and he could not be registered to race in Japan.

His personal bests of 10.09 seconds in the 100m and 19.87 in the 200m are national records, and he was a double champion at the 2012 Ibero-American Championships.

He also holds the national 400m record, having clocked 46.28 in a race in Braga in 2019.

His death occurred on the fourth day of a state of emergency declared by the country’s president, Guillermo Lasso, to try to stop an increase in crime in the country.

Joint operations between the military and the police have been concentrated in several provinces of Ecuador, especially in the coastal area of Guayas, where, according to the agency EFE, there have been several violent deaths in recent weeks.


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