Ethiopian winner of 2013 Boston Marathon to return medal in honour of bombing victims

The athlete will also compete in the 2014 Boston marathon.

The winner of the men’s race at the 2013 edition of the Boston Marathon, held on April 15, Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa, will return his medal to the U.S. city in honour of those killed in the bombing that marred the race.

“This year, I competed in and I won the 117th running of the historic Boston Marathon. Yet, less than two hours after I had crossed the finish line as this year’s champion, my joy turned to sorrow as I learned the tragic news of the death and the injury to so many innocent people,” Desisa said.

He was speaking in Addis Ababa on Sunday, at a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and staff of the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia.

“As a gesture of my solidarity with the victims of this senseless act of violence, I will return to Boston and give my medal to the people of Boston in honour and in memory of those who suffered, and those who died on that day, like eight-year-old Martin Richard,” he said.

The Ethiopian runner was among those invited to the meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State, who is in Ethiopia to participate in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the OAU’s founding.

Desisa also promised to compete again at the Boston Marathon in 2014 “to show the world that our commitment to sport, our commitment to our freedom, is stronger than any act of violence’’.

Condemning the bombing that killed three people and left more than 260 injured, Desisa said sport should always be “a source of pleasure and enjoyment, healthy recreation and positive competition’’.

“It holds the power to unify people and to connect people from all over the world with one another,’’ he said.


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