Monday, September 27, 2021

Drama as Saudi athlete is disqualified for kick to Iranian opponent’s head

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Iran’s Sajad Ganjzadeh won the men’s +75kg kumite Olympic gold in karate after high drama at the famed Budokan arena on Saturday.

Tareg Hamedi of Saudi Arabia was leading 3-0 in under 10 seconds but was then disqualified for a kick to the head of Ganjzadeh.

The Iranian was knocked out and was taken away on a stretcher, and the judges decided the kick did not demonstrate adequate control.

Ganjzadeh recovered later to get his medal.

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“I don’t exactly know what happened. I know that I was behind, and I was trying to catch up, and just by the end of it I remember that just after the hit, I was on the stretcher,” he said.

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“When I woke up, when I was getting treated, I remember my coach telling me, ‘you won’. That’s all I remember.

“Overall my health is fine. I had a very severe pain in my head, I had a very bad headache. I’m glad to win this medal, but I’m also sorry for my opponent for what happened.”

Egypt’s Feryal Abdelaziz also won the women’s +61kg kumite gold, beating European and world champion Iryna Zaretska of Azerbaijan 2-0.

Karate is making its debut at the Tokyo Games.

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