UK

Spanish Swimmer Sacrifices Glory To Honour Barcelona Terror Attack Victims

'I felt better than if I won all the gold in the world.'

22/08/2017 11:25 BST | Updated 22/08/2017 11:38 BST

A Spanish swimmer sacrificed his own chance at glory to hold a moving tribute to the 15 people who lost their lives in the Barcelona and Cambrils terror attacks last week.

Fernando Alvarez was poised to take part in the 200 metre breaststroke final in the FINA World Masters Championships in Budapest, but stayed on the racing block when the buzzer went.

Alvarez, a swimmer with the Cadiz swimming club, told El Espanol he had requested the event hold an official minute’s silence, but was rebuffed.

YouTube
Fernando Alvarez stayed motionless on the racing block for one minute on Saturday 

So he took matters into his own hands on Saturday and spent the first 60 seconds of the race standing in silence, before finally joining the other swimmers.

He told the newspaper: “It’s something that has affected us all, but maybe because of the distance and because I have family there… I really think it would have been a good thing to do.

“I stayed alone. I left a minute later. But I do not care, I felt better than if I won all the gold in the world.”

Alvarez’s swimming club Club Natacion Cadiz posted a video of his tribute on Facebook, where it has been watched more than half a million times.

“Brave for you Fernando,” it wrote, praising his “great gesture” and stating it rejected the “barbarity” of the terror attacks.

Four men accused of being members of an Islamist cell behind a van attack that killed 14 people in Barcelona last week appeared in court on Tuesday, a day after the alleged driver was shot dead by police.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the van attack and a separate deadly assault, hours later, in the coastal resort of Cambrils, south of Barcelona.