RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 18 (UPI) — A cyclist from Iran died after a crash in the men’s road race in the Rio Paralympics — the first athlete to die in the competition for disabled athletes.
Bahman Golbarnezhad, 48, crashed Saturday on the downhill slope of the C4-5 classification road race for athletes with lower limb impairments or amputations.
“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 International Paralympic Committee said. “The ambulance then diverted to the nearby Unimed Rio Hospital in Barra where he passed away soon after arrival.”
The IPC said it has begun an investigation into the crash, which it said took place around 10:40 a.m. on the first section of the Grumari loop, “a mountainous stretch of the course.”
Golbarnezhad, who took up paracycling in 2002 and was 23rd in the 2012 Paralympics in London, finished 14th in the time trial event Wednesday.
The Iranian and Paralympic flags were lowered to half-mast at the Olympic Village.
“This is very sad news for sport and for the Paralympic movement,” said Carlos Nuzman, president of Rio 2016. “Our hearts and prayers are with Bahman’s family, his teammates and all the people of Iran.”
In 2010, Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia died during luge practice.in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Last month during the Olympic Games’ women’s road race, Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten crashed while leading the race on a different course.