An Iranian cyclist died Saturday following a road race crash at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Cyclist Sarafraz Bahman Golbarnezhad died after crashing in the C4-5 event. This is the first death ever recorded since the event began in 1960, as stated by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
“This is truly heartbreaking news, and the thoughts and condolences of the whole Paralympic Movement are with Bahman’s family, friends, and teammates, as well as the whole of the National Paralympic Committee of Iran,” IPC president Philip Craven, said in a statement.
In an article posted by ESPN, the IPC said that the Iranian cyclist Golbarnezhad crashed about 10:40 a.m. local time on a mountainous stretch of the road cycling course. The cyclist suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital, the IPC added.
“This is very sad news for the sport and for the Paralympic movement.” Carlos Nuzman, head of the Rio Olympic organizing committee, said in a statement. “Our hearts and prayers are with Bahman’s family, his teammates and all the people of Iran.”
According to Fox News Sports, the 48-year old Paralympian was born in Shiraz, Iran. Aside from the Rio Paralympics, he also competed in the Londo Paralympics, however, did not go home with a medal. Golbarnezhad was competing in the C4-5 races for athletes with lower limb impairments or amputations.
“He was an exemplary Paralympic sportsman who, with love and energy, tried his best to promote the name of Iran and to make all of us proud and at the end, he gave his life for this,” Golbarnezhad’s National Paralympic Committee said. “All members of the Iranian cultural and sports camp here express condolences to his family and the Iranian nation. The name of Bahman Golbarnezhad will be inscribed in the proud history of Iranian Paralympics.”
The Iranian flag has been lowered to half-mast in the Athletes Village.
Photo courtesy: The Department of Culture, Media and Sports/Flickr