Guatemalan lawmakers approved Tuesday a decoration for racewalker Erick Barrondo in honor of his winning a silver medal last weekend in the 20-kilometer walk at the 2012 London Olympics.

The 116 members present at the session voted unanimously in favor of making Guatemala's first-ever medal winner a Knight of the Order of the Sovereign Congress.

Barrondo will also receive $64,000.

"If in England there is a Sir Alex Ferguson (manager of top soccer club Manchester United), why in Guatemala can't there be a Knight Erick Barrondo?" legislator Haroldo Quej asked as he explained why he voted in favor of the honor.

President Otto Pérez Molina met Tuesday with Dora and Bernardo Barrondo, parents of the athlete, who will compete next Saturday in the 50-kilometer walk, to coordinate the details of the trip that the government will provide so they can go to London and cheer on their son.

"They are being given the trip to accompany Erick and give him the warmth and support he needs for the race," a spokesperson for the president's office told Efe.

"He's going to be welcomed as a hero, as he deserves. We're going to be waiting for him with open arms," Pérez Molina said last Saturday after Barrondo's medal-winning performance in the 20-kilometer event. 

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