Unconscious Iranian Wins Karate Gold at Olympics

Opponent was disqualified for kick to the neck
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2021 7:15 AM CDT
Unconscious Iranian Wins Karate Gold at Olympics
Sajad Ganjzadeh of Iran, left, is injured while competing against Tareg Hamedi of Saudi Arabia   (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Iran’s Sajad Ganjzadeh won the Olympic gold medal in men’s over-75 kilogram karate after final opponent Tareg Hamedi was disqualified for kicking Ganjzadeh hard in the upper body or head, per the AP. It happened in the final bout of karate's Olympic debut in Japan when Hamedi at first appeared to be dominating before a kick to Ganizadeh's neck sent the Iranian to the mat and medics to his aid. He was removed on a stretcher, per Reuters, and the Saudi Hamedi left the mat in tears. Had he taken gold, it would have been a first for Saudi Arabia in any category.

The referee would eventually call the match for Iran and disqualify Hamedi, whose unchecked, mixed martial arts style attack is not allowed under Olympic rules because it is considered too dangerous. Though unconscious, Ganjzadeh was awarded gold and later appeared to have recovered at the podium, where he stood alongside silver-medalist Hamedi. Ganjzadeh told reporters he was excited to take the top spot for his country but was disappointed he "had to win it like this," per Al Jazeera. (More Iran stories.)

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