Olympic sprinter Alex Quinonez shot dead in Ecuador

Ecuadorian Olympic sprinter Alex Quinonez has been shot dead in the port city of Guayaquil.

Ecuadorian Olympic sprinter Alex Quinonez has been shot dead in the port city of Guayaquil, report news agencies.

Quinonez, 32, and another person were found dead close to midnight (05:00 GMT) on Friday, with the killing sparking an outpouring of grief in a country struggling to contain a surge in violence.

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

Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso promised to bring his killers to justice.

“Those who take the lives of Ecuadoreans will not remain unpunished. We will act with force,” Lasso tweeted.

Quinonez held Ecuador’s record for the 200m sprint with a time of 19.87 seconds.

He was a finalist in the 2012 London Olympics, achieving seventh place after competing in the semis in the lane next to Usain Bolt.

Quinonez won bronze in the 200m at the 2019 World Championships in Qatar.

Violence has been spiking dramatically in Ecuador in recent months. Between January and October this year, the country registered almost 1,900 homicides, compared to about 1,400 in all of 2020, according to the government.

President Lasso decreed a state of emergency throughout the country last week and is due to last 60 days with the military to take to the streets to patrol and carry out searches.

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.