Paralympic Shot Putter Stripped Of Gold Medal After Being 3 Minutes Late
A Paralympic shot putter from Malaysia has been stripped of his gold medal after turning up to the competition three minutes late.
Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli appeared jubilant after winning gold in the F20 class final on Tuesday, August 31, having broken his own Paralympic world record with a 17.94m throw.
However, soon after his history-making victory, it emerged that Zolkefli and two other athletes – Ecuador’s Jordi Patricio Congo Villalba and Australia’s Todd Hodgetts – had been disqualified for having turned up late.
Following this disqualification, the gold medal was instead awarded to Maksym Koval of Ukraine, while his Ukraine teammate Oleksandr Yarovyi was awarded silver. Efstratios Nikolaidis of Greece was bumped up to bronze.
Many of Zolkefli’s supporters in Malaysia have been left outraged by the decision, airing their opinions on the matter on social media.
Some angered fans have taken to trolling and hurling abuse at Koval, with such behaviour resulting in the Facebook page for The Ukrainian Embassy for Malaysia being removed altogether.
Taking to Twitter, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Malaysia, Olexander Nechytaylo, sought to send a peaceful message in the midst of the controversy, writing:
Alongside with many Malaysian friends I am closely following Tokyo 2020: The Paralympics, celebrating the victory of every para-athlete and saluting their unbreakable will and determination.
I congratulate #ZiyadZolkefli with the remarkable performance, breaking the world record in shot put F20. He will indeed remain a true Champion in the hearts of many, not just Malaysians.
Nechytaylo went on to remark that there are some ‘fair questions to the Organizing Committee, whose slack attitude created the grounds for the controversy in the first place’, adding that such questions should be ‘addressed in a swift and transparent manner to preserve the Olympic spirit of the Games’.
In a statement, the World Para Athletics said the decision was made based on World Para Athletics Rule 5.5, ‘Failure to Report to the Call Room’, a rule which stipulates that if athletes are not present in the Call Room at the time detailed in the Call Room schedule, then ‘they will be shown in the results as DNS (Did Not Start)’.
As per this statement, ‘athletes were allowed to compete under protest while the Referee considered all the evidence as to why the athletes were late to the Call Room’ in accordance with Rule 5.5.
However, after having examined the evidence, it was determined there had been ‘no justifiable reason for the athletes’ failure to report to the Call Room on time’.
The three athletes appealed the decision to the Jury of Appeal, and teams were permitted the chance to present all relevant information before a final decision was made. However, the referee’s decision was upheld by the Jury of Appeal, which ultimately ‘confirmed the athletes’ results as DNS’.
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CreditsOlexander Nechytaylo/Twitter and 1 other
World Para Athletics