Athletics-Viciosa apologises to Katir over surname remarks

·1-min read

MADRID (Reuters) - Former Spanish runner Isaac Viciosa has publicly apologised to athlete Mohamed Katir after saying he would have preferred an athlete "with Spanish surnames" to have taken his 3,000 metre national record.

Katir, who was born in Morocco but grew up in Spain and represents the country internationally, broke Viciosa's 23-year-old record by almost two seconds after clocking a time of 7:27.64 at Gateshead's Diamond League meeting last Tuesday.

Katir also holds the Spanish records for 1500m and 5000m, and will compete for Spain in the latter at the Tokyo Olympics which start this week.

Viciosa told magazine Soy Corredor that he "would have preferred that an athlete with Spanish surnames broke the record," leading to a widespread backlash.

Katir responded on Instagram by defending his origins, while the President of Spain's Superior Sports Council, Jose Manuel Franco, also criticised Viciosa on Twitter.

"I would like to let it be known that, after an interview in which the journalist was loyal to the answers I gave, that the first thing I did was send a message to Mo Katir apologising for my words and anything that might have hurt him," Viciosa wrote in a public letter of apology.

"I have also apologised for distracting him in his preparations for the Tokyo Olympics."

(Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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