Iranian Cyclist Sarafraz Bahman Golbarnezhad’s tragic death has cast a shadow over the Paralympics in Rio ahead of its closing ceremony. The 48-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest after being involved in a crash in the C4-5 event and passed away yesterday in a hospital.
"The IPC confirm that Golbarnezhad, 48, was involved in a crash at around 1040 on the first section of the Grumari loop, a mountainous stretch of the course."The athlete received treatment at the scene and was in the process of being taken to the athlete hospital when he suffered a cardiac arrest."The ambulance diverted to the nearby Unimed Rio Hospital in Barra da Tijuca where he passed away soon after arrival," the International Paralympic Committee said in a statement, reported Reuters.The IPC has also launched an investigation into the accident, in what is the first fatal accident in the Games since it started in 1960.
"As far as we're aware it is the first fatal accident in a Paralympics," the IPC's director of communications Craig Spence told Reuters.
Golbarnezhad, who started cycling in 2002, had finished 14th in the C4 time trial on Wednesday.
The Iranian Paralympic Committee has expressed their grief in a statement. "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," said Golbarnezhad's national Paralympic Committee."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.