That dreadful ‘marathon’ tragedy

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s national athletics coach Lakshman de Alwis and former Olympic marathon runner K.A. Karunaratne were among those killed in a suicide bomb attack Sunday.

The bomber struck at the start of a marathon, killing a government minister and 11 other people. Dozens were wounded.

Minister of Highways and Road Development Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, who was opening the race 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Colombo, was among those killed, government spokesman Anusha Paltipa said.

Eleven other people died and more than 90 were wounded, the Defense Ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Karunaratne competed in the 1992 Olympic marathon and the 1993 World Championships. He won gold in the marathon and 10,000 meters at the 1991 South Asian Games, defending his marathon title in 1993.

Karunaratne and de Alwis were confirmed dead by Lakshman Hulugalle, a government spokesman.

The Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 for an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils who have been marginalized by successive governments run by majority ethnic Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.

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