Iran wins karate gold after Saudi disqualification in final


Tokyo, Japan, August 7, 2021: The final of the men’s kumite +75kg division came to a dramatic conclusion on the third and final day of karate at Nippon Budokan on Saturday, reports the World Karate Federation.

No. 2 seed Sajad Ganjzadeh of Iran was awarded the gold medal after Tareg Hamedi of Saudi Arabia was disqualified for a powerful kick to the head that brought the Iranian to the tatami, bringing a sudden end to the proceedings with Hamedi leading 4-1.

“I’m very happy that I won this gold medal,” Ganjzadeh, 29, said, “but I’m sad that it happened like this.

“But, overall, today was a very good day for me. Until the final all my matches were very good.”

Hamedi had raced out to a 4-0 lead 30 seconds into the bout and was leading 4-1 at the time of the infraction. The 23-year-old was visibly upset as he exited the competition area.

“I don’t have any objection to the decision,” he said. “I think that I competed well today, that’s all I can say.”

The judges later awarded Ganjzadeh, who is a former world champion, the gold medal by a Hansoku (disqualification) and the match ended with a 4-0 scoreline. The pair had met earlier in the elimination round Pool B and the bout ended in a 0-0 draw. 

It was Iran’s third gold medal of Tokyo 2020 and a first medal of any colour for Saudi Arabia.

Hamedi, from Jubail, won the bronze medal at the Asian Games in Indonesia in men’s kumite +84kg. In 2016 he was named Most Promising Player by the World Karate Federation.

Ryutaro Araga (JPN), who had been beaten 2-0 in the semi-final by Hamedi, and Ugur Aktas (TUR) claimed the bronze medals.

The WKF reported that the KSA athlete was being supported in the stadium by the President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, and by the Vice President, HRH Prince Fahad bin Jalawi Al Saud.  HRH Prince Abdulaziz is also the Sports Minister of Saudi Arabia.