Iranian Paralympic athlete refuses to shake Duchess of Cambridge”s hand “for cultural reasons because she”s a woman” at medal ceremony Discus thrower Mehrdad Karam Zadeh clutched his chest after he was presented with his silver medalIranian cultural convention bans men from shaking hands with unrelated womenSt. James”s Palace insisted Kate was warned beforehand not to expect a handshake
An Iranian athlete refused to shake the Duchess of Cambridge”s hand after she presented him with his discus silver medal on Sunday.
The Royal was warmly received on the podium by Paralympic GB”s gold medal winner Aled Davies and Chinese bronze medallist Lezheng Wang.
But when it was Mehrdad Karam Zadeh”s turn to step up, the 40-year-old failed to offer a hand to the Duchess, clutching them close to his chest.
Controversy: Kate Middleton walks away after Mehrdad Karam Zadeh refuses to shake her hand
Briefed: St. James”s Palace insists the Duchess was warned not to expect a handshake
His decision not to shake hands with the Duchess was likely to have been a result of Iranian culturalconvention which bans such contact between unrelated men and women. TheDuchess appeared to have been briefed on the situation, because she didnot offer her hand either.
The incident threatened to overshadow a glittering night for Paralympics GB, which enjoyed its most successful day of the Games so far with seven gold medals.
The Iranian delegation in London have not been available to comment on the incident, but according to the Daily Telegraph, they have told Games organisers Zadeh was not making a political statement.
It”s believed the athlete was merely conforming to Iranian cultural convention, forbidding men from shaking hands with unrelated women.
A spokesman for St. James”s Palace has revealed the Duchess was briefed beforehand and warned not to offer her hand to Zadeh.
Presentation: The Duchess hands over the medal, left, and Zadeh claps his hands to his chest, right
End of the presentation: The Duchess of Cambridge moves away from the athlete
AN HONOUR, BUT IT WOULD HAVE INSULTED ISLAM
The Islamic rules about touching apply to Muslims and non-Muslims.
A man or a woman is only allowed to shake hands, or have similar contact, with someone of the same sex.
However, there are several exceptions for close relatives such as brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and so on.
“Many male athletes from Islamic countries do not shake hands in public with women they are not related to for cultural and religious reasons,” the palace representative said.
The palace added Middleton was “honoured” to get the chance to present the medals, particularly to a British champion in Davies.
It put Paralympic GB in second place in the medal table, with 54 in all.
The Iranians have said that had the medal been presented by a man Zadeh would have shaken his hand. Likewise, had the Duchess presented the medal to a female Iranian they would not have hesitated to shake hands.
However, it”s not the first time the Iranian custom has caused controversy.
Last year the Iranian volleyball team had to apologise after several team members shook hands with a female referee after a game against Afghanistan.
The gesture provoked outrage and Iran’s state-owned media described the players” behaviour as “stunning and inappropriate”.
Beaming: The Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she hands the gold medal to Aled Davies of Paralympic GB
Shaking hands: The pair have no such issues as Aled Davies enjoys his moment of glory
Podium: Mehrdad Karam Zadeh poses with gold medallist Aled Davies and third placed Lezheng Wang of China
Earlier on Sunday, Kate cheered with delight as Britain”s mixed coxed fours crew – David Smith, James Roe, Naomi Riches, Pam Relph and cox Lily van den Broecke – pulled away from their German rivals and crossed the finish line first at Eton Dorney.
In all, there were medals across athletics, rowing, dressage, table tennis, swimming and cycling yesterday – taking the overall total to 16 golds, 24 silver and 14 bronze. It puts Paralympic GB in second place in the medal table, with 54 in all.
VIDEO: Watch Kate encounter with the Iranian discus thrower DM.has(“rcpv1821256458001″,”BCVideo”);ATHLETE HANDED GOLD BY MISTAKE SNUBS RE-RUN MEDAL CEREMONY
Mariia Pomazan, Qing Wu from China and Jiongyu Bao from China at the original medal ceremony
The Ukrainian athlete who was ordered to give back her discus gold medal because of a scoring blunder did not turn up to the rearranged ceremony at the Olympic Stadium this morning.
Mariia Pomazan stayed away in apparent protest as the gold she had been presented with on Friday was awarded to China”s Wu Qing.
The 23-year-old was demoted to silver and the place on the podium reserved for the second-placed athlete remained empty.
She admitted yesterday she was “very, very angry” after losing her gold in the F35/36 class, with organisers announcing the wrong medals had been awarded. Points rather than distance determined the final standings in the combined-class event.
She revealed those feelings had been behind her shot put gold yesterday.
All three athletes who received medals on Friday were asked to return them, with an appeal by the Ukrainian National Paralympic Committee for the original result to stand rejected by the jury of appeal.
An International Paralympic Committee spokesman said: “Since Friday we have tried to investigate if an alternative could be found that suited all parties that was within the rules. This has not been possible.”