Baku, June 23, AZERTAC
It was painful to watch when Stsiapan Papou of Belarus defeated his opponent Amil Gasimov with a leg hold in the final of the men's Sambo -74kg on Monday night. The Azerbaijani fighter was in agony and could not even get up.
But then the Belarusian athlete showed one of the greatest moments of sportsmanship seen so far at the Baku 2015 European Games.
Rather than simply enjoying his victory, he helped up his opponent – the world champion and gold medal favourite – and carried him off the mat, to much applause from a crowd of nearly 5,000 (see video below).
"In the first moment I was just happy that I had won," Papou said. "But then I saw that he didn't get up and of course I helped him.
"I wanted to show him my respect. He fought very well in all his matches, he was full of energy, you could see that he wanted to win so badly. He just didn't want to give up."
Papou said he did not hesitate to help Gasimov because he recalled being in similar situations himself.
"I did that because I know how much it hurts. I've lost that way before and I know the pain," Papou said.
Gasimov, who injured his right Achilles and left the arena in a wheelchair, said: "We know each other well because we have met a lot of times. On the mat we are rivals, but after the bout, outside the mat we have good relations.
"It is sport, so I think it is normal that he tried to help me to stand and carried me to the hall."