Malaysians express dissatisfaction over Ziyad’s disqualification

KUALA LUMPUR,. Malaysians have expressed their dissatisfaction following the disqualification of national athlete Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli’s gold medal win in the men’s F20 shot put event at the Tokyo Paralympic Games yesterday.

The results on the Tokyo Paralympic site announcing Ukrainian athlete Maksym Koval as the winner, received backlash on social media.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu was one of the first to express his unhappiness on Twitter.

“KBS’ KSU (secretary-general) and CDM (Chef de Mission) are on the field. Ukraine’s protests against the three countries is very weak. All three (countries) are counter-protesting. Let’s pray,” he said on his official Twitter account.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also expressed his disappointment by replying to the tweet from the organisers announcing the decision.

“This is a shameful decision. An absolute disgrace that goes against the spirit of the Paralympics. If it was a call room violation you should have not allowed them to compete in the first place. Mean spirited and petty. A stolen gold medal and world record,” said the former Youth and Sport Minister.

Former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman concurred.

“Shameful and disappointing decision. Why would you allowed Ziyad to participate after the alleged call room violation? This is unacceptable,” he said.

Several national Olympic athletes also expressed their regret over the controversy, including national diver Pandalela Rinong.

“Anything can happen in sport, but this one so far is the most shocking and made me speechless. #staystrongZiyad,” she tweeted.

Other Twitter users also expressed disappointment over the decision of the Paralympic Committee as well as the attitude of the Ukrainian camp in getting Ziyad’s gold-medal win disqualified.

“If this disqualification is final, shame on the International Paralympic Committee, on the Tokyo Paralympic Organisers and Team Ukraine. Why (were they) allowed to compete to begin with? Does it affect anyone’s performance? Four of Ziyad’s throws are further than 2nd place,” said @riznal.

“You guys let him go into the field. He broke the world record with 17.94m. He won the gold medal fair and square.

But you disqualified his participation only after the game is over? No, no. I’m not having it. Ziyad deserves better than this,” tweeted @khrnkat.

Muhammad Ziyad was earlier reported to have broken the world record in the F20 category shot put final with a throw of 17.94m in his third attempt, thus contributing the second gold medal for Malaysia.

However, the victory was disqualified after a protest by the Ukrainian camp, which claimed that Muhammad Ziyad was late to enter the roll cal area, thus allowing their athlete to win gold in the event.



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