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Colombian president decorates Olympic medal winners

08-16-2012 09:18 BJT

By Elisa G.

BOGOTA, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday decorated with the "Order of Boyaca" the eight Colombian athletes who won medals in London 2012 Olympic Games.

The "Order of Boyaca", the maximum decoration given by the Colombian government, was granted to the winners of one gold medal, three silver medals and four bronze medals during the recent summer games.

Before the ceremony, the athletes paraded through the streets of Bogota on a fire engine. Mariana Pajon, Carlos Mario Oquendo, Jackeline Renteria, Catherine Ibarguen, Oscar Figueroa, Yuri Alvear and Oscar Munoz greeted the people who cheered them along their way to Casa de Narino, seat of the Colombian government.

Only cyclist Rigoberto Uran was absent of the celebration because he is currently training for a competence to be held in Europe.

"Welcome, Colombia's medal-winners! Welcome, athletes who have filled our country with honor! Your pride is our pride. Your victories have been also our victories," said President Juan Manuel Santos at the beginning of the ceremony.

During the London 2012 Olympic Games, which ended Sunday, Colombian athletes won medals in cycling, weightlifting, judo, taekwondo, triple jump, free-style wrestling and BMX category cycling.

"The Order of Boyaca, the same that Bolivar and his troops received 193 years ago, is the symbol of our love for you, of our respect and our gratefulness," said Santos to the athletes.

Santos announced that he signed a decree to give housing benefits to the Olympic medal-winners.

The Colombian President also said that the government' s Military University will give full scholarships to the eight winners as well as to another eight athletes who had good performances in the summer games.

Mariana Pajon, who won the first gold medal in Colombia' s Olympic history in BMX cycling, thanked Santos' support to the 100-athlete delegation who took part in London 2012 and asked the government and the Colombian people to believe in sports and athletes.

Also, the Colombian government promised to address more resources for the athletes' training towards Rio de Janeiro 2016.



Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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