Iranian Olympian left unconscious in karate wins gold after opponent disqualified

An Iranian Olympian who was left unconscious during a karate match took home the gold medal after his opponent was disqualified.

Iran’s Sajad Ganjzadeh won the karate kumite competition in the men's 75-kilogram weight class on Saturday, according to the official Olympics website.

Tareg Hamedi of Saudi Arabia won the silver medal. 


Ganjzadeh, 29, had been trailing his opponent 4-1 in the match-up and fell after Hamedi kicked him in the head.

The judges disqualified Hamedi for committing a serious infraction, called a hansoku. The judges didn’t elaborate on why Hamedi was disqualified, but according to The Associated Press, in the Olympic version of karate, competitors are not supposed to follow through on their strikes.

Ganjzadeh told reporters that he learned of his gold medal when he woke up in the medical room backstage, according to the Olympics recap.

“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.

The Tokyo Games marked the sport's Olympic debut. According to the World Karate Federation, Saturday was the last day of the competition and featured athletes competing in the women’s over-60 kilogram weight class.