September 16, 2021

Anger after Paralympian stripped of gold medal for being late

The decision to strip Mr. Zolkefli of his gold medal has been met with much anger on social media, especially from Malaysians.

Anger after Paralympian stripped of gold medal for being late

Anger after Paralympian stripped of gold medal for being late photo credit: BBC

The International Paralympics Committee (IPC) has had to defend a decision to strip a Malaysian athlete of his gold medal.

Shot putter, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli won gold in the F20 class but was later disqualified for arriving three minutes late to the event. Mr. Zolkefli was allowed to compete because at the time he had a “logical” reason for being late, however a referee later found there was no “justifiable reason” for him to be late.

The decision to strip Mr. Zolkefli of his gold medal has been met with much anger on social media, especially from Malaysians.

“Absolutely disgraceful! You should not have allowed the athletes to compete if they were late. Don’t steal this hard-earned, world record-breaking medal from Ziyad,” said Malaysian MP Fahmi Fadzil.

Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister Ahmad Faizul Azumu said the country’s National Sports Council had been ordered to investigate. He added that he was “disappointed” by the decision to strip Mr Zolkefli’s medal.

“The athletes have waited for five years but their hopes and spirits were destroyed by a delay of not even five minutes… this is something which is very sad,” he said in a report by local news outlet The Star.

A lot of the anger on social media appears to be directed at Ukrainian athlete Maksym Koval – who initially won silver but was later bumped up to gold after Mr. Zolkefli was disqualified.

According to a report by Malaysian media outlets, the Ukraine had lodged a protest that Mr. Zolkefli was late to the call room before the event started.

IPC spokesman, Craig Spence said that many “very abusive” comments were made online after the disqualification with a lot of it targeting the Ukrainians.

“I’m sorry. Rules are rules. The decision was taken. It wasn’t the Ukrainians’ fault that the Malaysian was late,” he said, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Spence said that Mr. Zolkelfi – along with two others who were late – said that they had not heard “the announcement or it was in a language” they did not understand.

An appeal against the decision has been rejected.

The F20 shot put event is for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Sources: BBC

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