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Iranian Cyclist Dies After Crashing During The Rio Paralympics

Games officials said they were "devastated" at the death of Bahman Golbarnezhad.

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Updated on

An Iranian cyclist died Saturday from an injury sustained during a road race at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Golbarnezhad, 48, crashed around 10:40 a.m. local time during the first section of the C4 cycling road race, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said in a statement.

"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 IPC said. "The ambulance then diverted to the nearby Unimed Rio Hospital in Barra where he passed away soon after arrival."

Both the athlete's family in Iran, and the Iranian Paralympic team in Rio, were subsequently informed of his death.

The Iranian flag has since been lowered to half-staff in the Paralympic Village as a sign of respect. The Paralympic flag will also be lowered in the village and a moment of silence will also be held during Sunday's closing ceremony.

"This is truly heartbreaking 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 of Iran," IPC President Sir Philip Carven said.

Officials are now investigating the circumstances of the accident.

Sunday's race was Golbarnezhad's second event at the Rio Games, after he competed Wednesday in the C4 time trial, finishing 14th.

A C4 race is a competitive class for "an athlete with a below-knee amputation and a prosthesis on one leg," according to the IPC's guide to Paralympic classification.

Golbarnezhad also competed in the 2012 Paralympics in London.

"This is very sad news for sport and for the Paralympic movement," said Carlos Nuzman, president of Rio 2016. "Our hearts and prayers are with Bahman’s family, his teammates, and all the people of Iran.”

Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tamerra Griffin at tamerra.griffin@buzzfeed.com.

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