Iranian Karate fighter Sajad Ganjzadeh won gold in the Men’s 75kg division at the Tokyo Games. However he did not realize he won, until he came to in the locker room after being knocked out by his opponent.
Ganjzadeh faced Saudi Arabia’s Tareg Hamedi in the gold medal match at the 2020 Olympics. The match was drawing to a close, with Sajad down on the scorecards by three points, before the unthinkable happened.
The Iranian marched forward, ready to attack, when Hamedi unleashed a side kick directly to the face of his opponent, knocking him out cold. Despite Tareg celebrating this as a win, thinking he had won gold, it would turn out that due to a technicality, Sajad would be the gold medalist instead.
Check out the video below, courtesy of Twitter.
هذا المشهد بعيوننا يسوى ١٠ ذهبيات🥇
— Mohammed 🦇 (@boyousef_14) August 7, 2021
Why Did Sajad Ganjzadeh Win The Gold?
That was the question on the minds of those watching, who saw Sajad Ganjzadeh get knocked stiff. After all, Tareg Hamedi looked to clearly be the winner of this fight, given that he was the one still awake and celebrating the victory.
However in Olympic Karate, the rules state that athletes are not allowed to follow through on their strikes, meaning that knockouts are technically illegal. Therefore, Hamedi was disqualified for using “excessive force,” which led to Sajad winning the gold.
That being said, Sajad Ganjzadeh did not even realize that he was the gold medal winner until waking back up in the locker room. He said that the last thing that he remembered was being down on the scorecards, and getting hit with a kick, saying that he was happy to win gold but wished it came in a better way.
In the end, rules are rules, but it is hard to not feel for Tareg Hamedi in this situation. While athletes of this caliber should be able to pull their strikes, knockouts still happen when people are kicking and punching each other.