Swimmer Forfeits Race At World Masters Championships To Honour Barcelona Attack Victims
Fernando Alvarez was at the blocks with eight other swimmers at the World Championships in Budapest for the 200m breaststroke Masters even. As the buzzer went, the athletes dived into the water, but Alvarez remained on the blocks.
He raised his hands in the air and waited a full 60 seconds before starting the race. He wanted to have a personal minute's silence for people killed in last week's terror attacks in Spain.
Fifteen people were killed in Barcelona and Cambrils with more than 100 others injured after a van ploughed into a group of pedestrians on Thursday and Friday on the popular Las Ramblas.
Alvarez had in fact requested the Masters World Championships to hold a minute's silence, but shockingly the plea was rejected by the International Swimming Federation.
Speaking to local media, Alvarez said: "They told me that it was not possible [to have minute's silence] because not a minute could be wasted. So I started a minute later. But I do not mind, I have a feeling worth more than if I win all the gold medals in the world."
The selfless act has received praise from many on social media.
Bravo!! Ole tu #FernandoAlvarez :clap::military_medal:️:blush:
They deny the minute of silence for the attacks in Barcelona, but he does.https://t.co/3cE5j7lqkY pic.twitter.com/hGNRlMH6aH
- Crister Music (@cristergarcia) August 20, 2017
#FernandoAlvarez :crown::crown::crown: #respect for the true champion #BarcelonaTerrorAttack but you #FINABudapest2017 a disgrace for #sport pic.twitter.com/T5YqOuZRj2
- MysticMarc (@class88888888) August 20, 2017
Andalusian swimmer Fernando Álvarez did what the organisation did not want to do: hold a minute's silence for #Barcelona victims. Thank you! https://t.co/JgHcAKdWjW
- M Strubell. (@mstrubell_EN) August 20, 2017
#FernandoAlvarez I salute you sir stuff the organisers :punch:
- The Dude (@kevinmac76) August 21, 2017
Fernando Alvarez should be awarded a Gold medal for showing such respect for victims of Barcelona attack. Bravisimo!! pic.twitter.com/HpgBptVX1E
- Jacqui Burke (@jacquiburkefp) August 21, 2017
In recently released CCTV footage, the man behind the wheel of the Barcelona attack was spotted in the famous La Boqueria market wearing sunglasses after the incident on Las Ramblas. Police tweeted images from the security cameras in an attempt to find Younes Abouyaaqoub.
Abouyaaqoub has been shot by police in Subirats, a suburb to the west of the second largest Spanish city. Local media reported that he was wearing an explosive belt when authorities located him.
We confirm that the man shot down in #subirats is Younes Abouyaaqoub, author of the terrorist attack in #barcelona
- Mossos (@mossos) August 21, 2017
Five men suspected of being part of the terror cell were shot dead in the early hours of Friday morning after a second attack, in which a car was also driven at pedestrians in the town of Cambrils. A Spanish woman was also killed in the attack.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, but it has not yet been determined whether any of the Jihadi cell were in contact with anyone else from the wider movement.
Along with the attack on the Ramblas and the Cambrils attack, there was a third explosion in the town of Alcanar, to the south of Barcelona. It is suspected that the blast took place in a Jihadi bomb factory.
Featured Image Credit: CEN