The Paralympic men’s C4/C5 road race ended in tragedy on Saturday 17 September, with the death of one of the competitors.
At 10.35am local time, Iranian cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad lost control of his bike on a bend of the Grumari circuit.
Golbarnezhad violently crashed, sustaining head injuries, but did not die instantly at the scene. He passed away following two cardiac arrests, the second of which happened at the Unimed Rio Hospital in Barra.
Piers Jones, sports director of the Union Cycliste Internationale, has insisted that the course was not unsafe. He has said in a statement, “The courses are designed to be competitive. All the cyclists here are experienced cyclists. And the levels of different functional ability are accounted for”.
The cyclist began competing in various sports after losing his left leg whilst fighting for Iran in a war zone. It was the athlete’s second Paralympics, competing in two events at London 2012.
As a sign of respect and mourning, the Iranian flag has been lowered to half-mast and a minute’s silence was held at the closing ceremony.
President of the International Olympic Committee, Sir Philip Craven, has 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”.