Drama as Saudi athlete is disqualified for kick to Iranian opponent’s head

Saudi Arabia’s Tareg Hamedi disqualified for a kick to Iran’s Sajad Ganjzadeh head in men’s +75kg kumite Olympic karate. The Iranian (on the floor) was declared winner of the gold medal after high drama at the famed Budokan arena on Saturday.

Iran’s Sajad Ganjzadeh won the men’s +75kg kumite Olympic gold in karate after high drama at the famed Budokan arena on Saturday.

Tareg Hamedi of Saudi Arabia was leading 3-0 in under 10 seconds but was then disqualified for a kick to the head of Ganjzadeh.

The Iranian was knocked out and was taken away on a stretcher, and the judges decided the kick did not demonstrate adequate control.

Ganjzadeh recovered later to get his medal.

“I don’t exactly know what happened. I know that I was behind, and I was trying to catch up, and just by the end of it I remember that just after the hit, I was on the stretcher,” he said.

“When I woke up, when I was getting treated, I remember my coach telling me, ‘you won’. That’s all I remember.

“Overall my health is fine. I had a very severe pain in my head, I had a very bad headache. I’m glad to win this medal, but I’m also sorry for my opponent for what happened.”

Egypt’s Feryal Abdelaziz also won the women’s +61kg kumite gold, beating European and world champion Iryna Zaretska of Azerbaijan 2-0.

Karate is making its debut at the Tokyo Games.(dpa/NAN)