While the Olympics and Paralympics aspire to transcend international divisions, cultural and political differences can still become visible. This was the case when Iranian Paralympian Mehrdad Karam Zadeh opted not to shake hands with Kate Middleton after receiving a silver medal in the discus at the London Paralympics on Sunday, according to the Daily Mail and various reports.
The 40-year-old discus competitor kept his hands clasped to his chest after receiving his silver medal from the Duchess of Cambridge, who had been shaking hands with winners after presenting their medals. Zadeh won silver with a personal best toss of 44.62 meters. According to The Sun, Zadeh would have accepted a congratulatory handshake from a man.
"Many male athletes from Islamic countries do not shake hands in public with women they are not related to for cultural and religious reasons," a representative for the 30-year-old royal told Us Weekly in a statement. "The Duchess was informed in advance and was happy to accept his wishes. She considered it an honor to present the medals."
The gold medalist in the F42 discus classification, Aled Davis of Great Britain, was far more thrilled to meet Kate.