The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics which began on 24th August has indeed brought the entire world’s attention to it, including Malaysians who are in awe of our Paralympians’ effort throughout the games. As of now, Malaysia has successfully obtained one gold medal and one silver medal! This is a great achievement for our national contingent. Yesterday, our national shot put athlete, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, brought pride to the nation after his stellar performance, securing him the gold medal, subsequently, breaking the world record.
However, his victory was short-lived when officials removed the results of Ziyad and 2 other competitors after a protest launched by the Ukraine team on the grounds that the trio were late to enter the roll call area.
For those who are clueless, the call room is the commencement of the athletes’ competition journey — indicating the start of being in competition mode. They will be escorted at all times by technical officials until they complete their sporting events or tournaments. As a consequence of this illogical disqualification, Ukraine’s Koval Maksym was declared the gold medallist.
We, Malaysians and the authorities are definitely not going to let them win that easily especially, after Ziyad’s ground breaking performance. 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 tweeted.
In a direct response to the organiser’s tweet, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also expressed his disappointment.
“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 sports minister.
Another Former Youth and Sports Minister, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, expressed his frustration too! “Shameful and disappointing decision. Why would you allow Ziyad to participate after the alleged call room violation? This is unacceptable,” he said.
Several athletes have voiced out their anger and shock too. Among them, national diver Pandelela Rinong.
“Anything can happen in sport, but this one so far is the most shocking and made me speechless. #staystrongZiyad,” she tweeted.
National diver, Dhabitah Sabri, in her Instagram story, said, “The gold should be Ziyad’s.”
Adding on, she urged Malaysians to pray that Ziyad attains back the gold medal.
Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri in an effort to console Ziyad and rebut the decision of the organisers, said, “To Ziyad, you remain the champion in our hearts, breaking the world record is an extraordinary thing! The Malaysian family and I are very proud of you! Let us all pray that the gold medal victory remains in the hands of Malaysia #malaysiaboleh #letlogicprevail.” Nevertheless, let’s pray that our counter-protest would be accepted by the Olympics Committee! The gold medal has to go to Ziyad, who has sacrificed his time and energy to give us this achievement on our Independence Day. Regardless of the outcome, we’re still proud of him.
Source: The Vibes