March 28, 2020 / 4:30 PM / 2 months ago

Athletics: Iran Olympic discus trailblazer Hadadi has coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Doha 2019 - Men's Discus Throw Final - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - September 30, 2019 Iran's Ehsan Hadadi in action REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo

(Reuters) - Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s first Olympic track and field medalist, has tested positive for coronavirus, World Athletics reported on Saturday.

Hadadi, the Asian discus champion who became a national hero when he won silver at the 2012 Olympics in London, has an athletics base in the U.S. but was at home in Tehran when he contracted the virus.

“We’ve received word that Iranian discus thrower @EhsanHadadi has tested positive for Coronavirus. We wish him a full and swift recovery,” World Athletics, the sport’s global governing body, said on Twitter.

Tasnim news agency reported Iran Athletic Federation doctor Ashkan Ordibehesht as saying that the 35-year-old Ehsan had self-quarantined after being diagnosed with the virus. “His recovery is going well,” the doctor added.

Hadadi, a six-times Asian Championship winner and Asian discus record holder, had been among the favorites to win gold at this year’s Tokyo Games before the announcement of their postponement on Tuesday.

When Hadadi won his Olympic medal, it was the first time an Iranian had stood on the podium at the Games in any sport other than wrestling, weightlifting or taekwondo.

He was also his country’s first-ever world championship medalist in 2011.

Iran has been among the countries worst affected by the spread of the coronavirus. The death toll in the country rose to 2,517 on Saturday, with 139 fatalities in the past 24 hours, a Health Ministry spokesman said.

Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Ed Osmond

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