- BBC News World
The Ecuadorian Olympic sprinter Álex Quiñónez was killed this Friday in the city of Guayaquil.
“With deep pain we confirm that our athlete Álex Quiñónez was murdered in the city of Guayaquil,” the Ecuadorian Ministry of Sports reported in a statement, which defined Quiñónez as “father, son and the best sprinter in the history of our country.”
The Ministry added that the National Police had come to the scene and that the corresponding investigations.
Local media reported that the event took place in the Colinas de la Florida sector, in the northwest of Guayaquil, where the sprinter was shot and killed.
Roberto Ibáñez, president of the Guayas Provincial Sports Federation, also referred to the murder of Quiñónez.
“My heart is totally broken, I can’t find words to describe the emptiness I feel,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
“I can’t believe it until when we are going to continue living so much evil and insecurity.”
The murder of Quiñónez occurs days after the president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, declared the state of exception throughout the national territory for 60 days to combat drug-related violence.
Quiñónez, 32, was a finalist in the 200-meter event at the 2012 London Olympics.
In 2019 he won the bronze medal at the Doha World Cup.
“Among his last public appearances, Quiñónez had apologized to Ecuador for not having been able to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, due to a sanction for unknown whereabouts in three calls for doping controls out of competition,” said Matías Zibell, journalist from BBC News Mundo in Ecuador.
“After his death, in the networks there were Ecuadorians who pointed out that the country owed him an apology for this tragedy.”
President Lasso said via Twitter that he would act “forcefully.”
“We are very sorry for the painful loss of Alex Quiñónez, father, son, a great sprinter who marked the sport,” he wrote. “Those who take the lives of Ecuadorians will not go unpunished. We will act forcefully.”
FC Barcelona, the club of which he was an athlete, also expressed their condolences through Twitter.
Wave of violence
Ecuador experiences a sharp increase in cases of homicides and situations of violence.
During the last few years, the historical homicide rate in the country has increased. In 2016 it was 5.8%, while in October of this year it rose to 10.6%, according to the local newspaper El Telégrafo.
There have been 1,885 criminal events so far this year, 1,112 of which were classified as criminal violence.
Between January and August of this year, 1,427 murders were registered in the country, 55 more than in all of 2020, according to the Interior Ministry.
The situation is of particular concern in Guayaquil, the city where Quiñónez was assassinated and where at the end of September at least 119 inmates died in a prison riot attributed to rival factions linked to Mexican drug trafficking organizations.
It was the worst prison massacre in the history of the Latin American country.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.