Tokyo Olympics rocked by gold medallist's sudden death at 32

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

A shadow has been cast over the upcoming Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, after the sudden death of two-time Paralympic gold medallist Siamand Rahman, aged 32.

The Iranian weightlifter, who was expected to take part in the Tokyo Games starting in July, died of a suspected heart attack.

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Regarded as a pioneer of his sport, Rahman broke multiple weightlifting records over the course of his career, notably breaking nine world records over a three year period.

Rahman was born with a congenital condition in his legs, which stemmed from the effects of polio.

Siamand Rahman with his gold medal at the Rio Paralympics in 2016. (Photo: YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)

Never able to compete against able-bodied rivals, Rahman nonetheless proved he was a force to be reckoned with, winning gold at London in 2012 and Rio in 2016.

On his way to gold in Rio, Rahman lifted an impressive 310kg, an unprecedented mark.

He was the first Paralympic athlete to lift any more than 300kg, a feat which earned him the Best Male Athlete at the Paralympic Sport Awards in 2016.

Olympics community saddened by Rahman’s death

International Paralympic Committee president said Rahman was an ‘inspiration’ who would be dearly missed by his compatriots and rivals alike.

“The whole Paralympic movement is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Siamand Rahman,” he said.

“Siamand was a pioneer for his sport, an inspiration for many in his home country, Iran, and around the world, and a fantastic ambassador for the Paralympic movement.

“He was also a wonderful human being, a gentle giant and one of the friendliest people you could ever meet.”