Iranian Paralympian cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad died after he crashed during the men's C4-C5 road race event at the ongoing Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, Reuters reported. Craig Spence, International Paralympic Committee's director of communications, told the news agency that his death was probably the first fatal accident during a Paralympics event since the game began in 1960.
The International Paralympic Committee's statement said, "Golbarnezhad, 48, was involved in a crash at around 10.40 am on the first section of the Grumari loop, 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 ambulance then diverted to the nearby Unimed Rio Hospital in Barra where he passed away soon after arrival."
The committee's president, Philip Craven, said, "This is truly heart-breaking news and the thoughts and condolences of the whole Paralympic movement are with Bahman’s family, friends and team mates as well as the whole of the National Paralympic Committee of Iran." Golbarnezhad was participating in his second race at the Paralympics after finishing 14th in the C4 time-trial race on Wednesday. He had previously participated in the 2012 Paralympics at London. Officials from the Iranian Paralympic delegation described him as an "exemplary sportsman who tried his best to promote the name of Iran and at the end he gave his life for this."
Officials have decided to observe a moment of silence at the event's closing ceremony on Sunday. The Iranian flag has been lowered to half-mast in the Athletes Village. BBC Sport reported that an investigation into the circumstances of the accident has been launched.