Spanish swimmer forfeits race at World Masters C'ships to hold minute's silence for Barcelona victims

Fernando Alvarez chose to stay on the blocks to pay tribute to the victims of the Barcelona attacks.
Fernando Alvarez chose to stay on the blocks to pay tribute to the victims of the Barcelona attacks. PHOTOS: FACEBOOK

BUDAPEST - A Spanish swimmer competing at the Fina World Masters Championships has earned praise for forgoing his race last Saturday (Aug 19) to pay tribute to the victims of the Barcelona attacks.

Fernando Alvarez, 71, chose to stay on the blocks even after the buzzer for the 200m breaststroke final had sounded.

He then stood still to observe a minute's silence as his fellow competitors raced away.

A video of Alvarez's act, which was shared by his swimming club Natacion Cadiz on Facebook, has racked up over 650,000 views.

Speaking to a local Spanish paper after the race, Alvarez said he wanted to pay his respects to the victims of last week's attacks, which killed 15 people.

He claimed he had contacted the competitor's organisers twice before his race without receiving a reply, but decided to go ahead with the tribute.

"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," he said.

"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."