Iranian Olympian Who Was Unconscious Wins Karate Gold After Opponent Disqualified

A high-kick to Iran’s Sajad Ganjzadeh’s neck sent him to the tatami as Saudi Arabia’s Tareg Hamedi celebrated, thinking he won the gold medal in the karate debut at the Tokyo Olympics.

Judges disqualified Hamedi for the infraction called hansoku, which, as a result, awarded Ganjzadeh – the unconscious Iranian Olympian – a gold medal in the karate kumite competition for the men’s 75kg weight class on Saturday.

Hamedi was leading 4-1 in the matchup, having scored a three-point “ippon” in the ninth second before the final kick forced an abrupt stop.

Medics rushed to Ganjzadeh’s side. They placed an oxygen mask on him and moved him onto a stretcher.

After a few minutes of discussion by the judges, Hamedi was disqualified for the unchecked attack because in the Olympic version of karate, competitors are not allowed to follow through on their strikes.

Ganjzadeh later returned for the medal ceremony and appeared to walk normally.

The Iranian told reporters that he learned about his gold medal when he woke up in the medical room backstage.

“The last thing I remember was that I was behind by scores and then that incident happened and I don’t remember much after that, and what I remember was that in the medical room I woke up and I heard from the coach that I won the match. I’m very happy that I achieved this gold medal but I’m sad that it had to happen like this,” Ganjzadeh said.

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