The winner of the men’s race at the 2013 edition of the Boston Marathon, held on April 15, Ethiopia’s Lelisa Delisa, is to return his medal to the US city in honour of those killed in the bombing that marred the race.
Desisa said in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday, when US Secretary of State, John Kerry, met with staff of the US Embassy in Ethiopia: “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.
“This day brought pain to many families and tremendous sorrow into many homes.
“As a gesture of my solidarity with the victims of this senseless act of violence, I will return to Boston and gift 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.”
PANA reports that the Ethiopian runner was among those invited to the meeting with Kerry, 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, the Ethiopian runner 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,” added Desisa.