There’s a lot of pressure when it comes to being an athlete; the need to do your best and hopefully make the people around you proud. However, circumstances can make your best null and void sometimes.
On 31st August, shot put player Muhammad Ziyad bin Zolkefli won the gold medal in Tokyo’s Paralympic Games. Unfortunately, he was later disqualified and his gold medal was retracted. This rallied many Malaysians into supporting Ziyad. This included his fellow athletes.
Initially, Ziyad won the gold medal for the F20 men’s shot put event with the best score of 17.94m. This not only won Ziyad his second consecutive gold medal in two years, he also broke the world record. Sadly, his achievement was voided and he was disqualified. As the Malaysian team failed to appeal on 1st September, his medal was retracted.
Although support from Malaysians came pouring in, Ziyad was still regretful of what had happened. He later apologised to all Malaysians on Instagram and thanked them for their support. Many saw his message, including national diver Nur Dhabitah Sabri who came in fourth place at the Tokyo Olympics.
Dhabitah was quick to respond and sent Ziyad an encouraging message. “(You) don’t need to apologise. You’ve already proven that you’re the best. I respect (you),” she told the shot put athlete. “Everyone knows what you’re capable of. Chin up. Every Malaysian is backing you. Show them next time in Paris 2024. All Malaysians love (you).”
With all the support and encouragement flooding in, Ziyad soon picked himself back up. “I will rise again,” he promised in another Instagram post. “Thank you for the encouraging words.”
We Malaysians definitely believe Ziyad can do it again, and we look forward to seeing it in Paris 2024. Until then, we wait in anticipation for him to reclaim his gold.