Iranian cyclist dies after crash in Paralympics road race


In this photo released by the IOC, cyclists compete in the men’s road cycling race C4-5, during the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016. (Simon Bruty/OIS, IOC via AP)

An Iranian cyclist has died after a crash in a C4-5 cycling road race at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics on Saturday.

The International Paralympics Committee identified the dead rider as Bahman Golbarnezhad, aged 48. It said he received emergency treatment on the course and was transported to a Rio hospital.

IPC officials said the crash took place at around 10:40 a.m. local time on the first section of the Grumari loop, a mountainous stretch of the course.

He was treated at the scene and was in the process of being transported to the athlete hospital when he suffered a cardiac arrest, the IPC said. The ambulance then diverted to the nearby Unimed Rio Hospital in Barra where he died soon after arrival.

An investigation into the circumstances of the accident has been launched.

After news of his death, the Iranian Flag was lowered to half-mast in the Paralympic Village. The Paralympic flag will also be flown at half-mast in the Paralympic Village and at the Rio Centro venue where Iran on Sunday will play Bosnia and Herzegovina in the sitting volleyball gold medal match. A moment of silence will also be held during tomorrow’s Closing Ceremony.

“This is truly heart-breaking 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 Sir Philip Craven said.

“The Paralympic Family is united in grief at this horrendous tragedy which casts a shadow over what have been great Paralympic Games here in Rio.”

The race was Golbarnezhad’s second at the 2016 Paralympic Games. On Wednesday he took part in the time trial C4 race finishing 14th. He also participated at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and took up the sport in 2002.

A Paralympic biography said he was born in Shiraz, Iran. He listed his wife as the most influential person in his career.

Story by the Associated Press with information from the International Paralympics Committee.