Iranian karateka Sajjad Ganjzadeh’s unbeaten run at the Tokyo Olympics was coming to an end before his Saudi opponent gave it away.
Tareg Hamedi, who was holding a healthy lead at halfway mark in the gold medal bout of 65kg karate division, was disqualified after his lethal kick knocked out Ganjzadeh.
Ganjzadeh was immediately taken out of the court in a stretcher and received medical treatment. He later returned to receive the gold medal, visibly still lying in pain.
The two contestants had earlier faced each other in a pool game, which ended in a draw.
While Hamedi had to settle for silver, Turkey’s Ugur Aktas and Japan’s Ryutaro Araga walked away with bronze medals.
The gold medalist of the 2016 and 2014 world championships, Ganjzadeh made his way to the finals after beating Turkey’s Aktas in the semifinals in a closely-fought game.
In the pool games and the elimination round, he defeated Ivan Kvesic of Croatia, Brain Irr of the US, and Daniel Gaysinaky of Canada, respectively.
Ganjzadeh got Iran its third gold at the Tokyo Olympics, after Javad Foroughi in shooting and Mohammad Reza Geraei in Greco-Roman wrestling. He was the last remaining Iranian member of the Olympic contingent still in the fray.
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