Alex Quiñónez: Ecuador sprinter shot dead

One of Ecuador’s best-known athletes, Alex Quiñónez, has been shot dead.

He was shot along with another person outside a shopping centre in the city of Guayaquil on Friday night. A motive is not yet clear.

Tributes have been pouring in for Mr Quiñónez, 32, who was described by Ecuador’s athletics federation as the country’s greatest sprinter.

President Guillermo Lasso promised that those behind the killing will be found and punished.

It comes after a 60-day nationwide state of emergency came into force in Ecuador on Monday in response to a wave of violent crime.

Official figures suggest the number of murders in the first eight months of this year are double those in the same period last year.

“With great sadness, we confirm the murder of our sportsman Alex Quiñónez,” the Sports Ministry announced on Twitter.

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

Mr Quiñónez won bronze in the 200 metres at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha. He was suspended prior to the Tokyo Olympics due to “breach of his whereabouts obligations”.

President Lasso tweeted his condolences.

“May he rest in peace. Those who take the lives of Ecuadoreans will not remain unpunished,” he said.

This is the second killing of an international athlete this month.

Agnes Tirop, a Kenyan runner who recently broke the women-only 10km road race world record, was stabbed to death in her home. Her husband has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

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