Iranian cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad has been killed in an accident during a road race at the Rio Paralympic Games, officials say, making it the first in-competition death during the Olympic or Paralympic Games since 1960. (more)
The accident happened at around 10:40 a.m. local time on Saturday when Golbarnezhad was competing in the men's C4-5 road race and fell from his bike on the first section of the Grumari loop, which is 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 International Paralymic Committee (IPC) said in a statement. "The ambulance then diverted to the nearby Unimed Rio Hospital in Barra where he passed away soon after arrival."
Golbarnezhad, who took up the sport in 2002 and also participated in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, was 48 years old.
Other details about the accident were not immediately released, but an investigation into the circumstances of the accident has been launched. A treacherous descent where Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten crashed during the Olympic Games was not part of the Paralympic course.
Golbarnezhad's death marks the first in-competition fatality during the Olympic or Paralympic Games since the 1960 Rome Olympics, during which Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen was killed. Jensen died after a heat stroke and a fall that fractured his skull.
"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," IPC President Philip Craven said, calling Golbarnezhad's death "heart-breaking news."
The Iranian and Paralympic flags at the Paralympic Village were lowered to half-mast after the accident and officials are preparing to hold a moment of silence during Sunday's Closing Ceremony.
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