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Spanish swimmer sacrifices race to stage a tribute to Barcelona victims

YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

Spanish swimmer Fernando Alvarez sacrificed his race in the World Masters Swimming Championships in order to hold his own minute of silence to honour the victims of last week's terror attacks in Barcelona.

As the buzzer sounded in the final of the 200m Breaststroke in Budapest, Hungary, Alvarez stood still on his podium as the other competitors dived into the pool.

Alvarez waited a full minute before entering the pool.

Speaking to Spanish newspaper El Espanol, Alvarez said that he had two requests for a minute's silence rejected by event organisers FINA.

"I went to the director of the competition ... but I was told that it was not possible because we could not lose a minute," Alvarez said. "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."

Footage of Alvarez's tribute posted by the swimmer's Club Natacion Cadiz on Facebook was viewed more than a half-million times.