Saudi Olympic champion Hamedi greeted with surprise celebration in Jeddah airport
Saudi Arabian Olympic champion and Karate player Tarek Hamedi was welcomed with a grand celebration at Jeddah airport following his silver medal win at the Tokyo Games, videos shared on social media showed on Monday.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports and President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki al-Faisal accompanied Hamedi upon his arrival.
Dozens of photographers lined up to capture the moment the athlete walked out of the arrival gates and accepted flower bouquets from young aspiring karatekas.
Hamedi was leading on points in the men’s over-75kg final in the Tokyo Olympic Games when he was disqualified for throwing a high kick and knocking out his opponent.
Iranian athlete Sajad Ganjzadeh was awarded gold after officials deliberated and decided that Hamedi’s move constituted a violation of the rules.
On Friday, the sports minister announced that the karate player would still be honored with the gold medal award and gifted $1.3 million (5 million Saudi Riyals) because of his near win.
“Because he is the hero in the eyes of all of us, our Olympic champion Tarek Hamedi will be honored with the gold medal award (5 million riyals) for his excellence, creativity, and honorable representation of the country in front of world stars in Tokyo 2020,” Prince Abdul Aziz said.