Iranian para-cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad has died after suffering a cardiac arrest following a crash in last night's C4-5 road race.
The 48-year old cyclist is reported to have crashed heavily during a downhill section of yesterday's road race and was being transported to the Athlete Hospital when he suffered cardiac arrest and was diverted to Unimed Rio Hospital in Barra where he died shortly after arriving.
Golbarnezhad had been cycling for 12 years, was Iran's national champion, and the country's sole cycling representative at these game. He leaves behind a wife and son.
The Iranian Paralympic committee has asked for their champion's body to be flown back to Iran and for a full investigation into the incident to be carried out by the International Paralympic Comittee (IPC). The Iranians also issued a statement that read: “He was an exemplary Paralympic sportsman who, with love and energy, tried his best to promote the name of Iran and to make all of us proud.
“At the end he gave his life for this. The name of Bahman Golbarnezhad will be inscribed in the proud history of Iranian Paralympics."
The Iranian committee's secretary general Masoud Ashrafi also made a statement: "[Golbarnezhad] had been cycling for 12 years and he was our best cyclist. He was married and has a wife and one son.
"He was the kind of man who was a family man. He loved his family."
International Paralympic Comittee president Philip Craven issued the following statement shortly after news of Golbarnezhad's death emerged:
"This is truly heart-breaking news and the thoughts and condolences of the whole Paralympic Movement are with Bahman’s family, friends, and teammates as well as the whole of the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of Iran, 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."
Tributes for the rider - who is the first ever Paralympic athlete to die in competition - have flooded in. High profile names in both the Para-cycling community and the wider cycling world offering their sympathies to those close to Golbarnezhad.
— Dame Sarah Storey (@DameSarahStorey) September 17, 2016
As you can see above, Dame Sarah Storey tweeted her condolences last night, while UCI president Brian Cookson issued the statement below with regards to the tragedy:
“I am devastated to hear about the death of Iranian rider Bahman Golbarnezhad. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, and the NPC of Iran to whom we offer our most sincere condolences.”
The Iranian flag has been lowered to half mast in the Athlete's Village, and there will be a minute's silence at the closing ceremony in honour of Golbarnezhad.