Ziyad’s appeal rejected, misses out on gold

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PETALING JAYA: The organisers of the Tokyo Paralympics have rejected the Malaysian contingent’s appeal over the disqualification of Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli after he hurled the shot put to a world record-breaking distance yesterday.

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Stadium Astro reported that the rejection came after a meeting among chef de missions earlier this morning. This means Ziyad has lost out on the gold medal.

A further appeal may be made by the Malaysian contingent, but only after the Games have ended.

In a statement, the World Para Athletics explained that Ziyad and two others were allowed to “compete under protest” while the referee considered the evidence as to why they were late to the call room.

“Having considered the evidence, the referee determined that there was no justifiable reason for the athletes’ failure to report to the call room on time.

“The decision was based on World Para Athletics Rule 5.5 – ‘Failure to Report to the Call Room’. This states that when athletes are not present in the call room at the relevant time, as published in the call room schedule, they will be shown in the results as DNS (Did Not Start),” it said.

Meanwhile, in an Instagram post before the appeal was turned down, Ziyad apologised to Malaysians for failing to win gold for the nation.

“I apologise to all Malaysians. Thank you for supporting me,” he said, drawing comments of support and encouragement from netizens.

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Yesterday, Ziyad put in a sensational performance to break several records to rise above the competition for the gold medal.

Not only did he break his own world record twice in Tokyo but also smashed the national able-bodied record for the event with a throw of 17.94m.

His disqualification meant he was unable to defend the gold medal he won at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Ziyad’s disqualification followed a protest from the Ukrainian athlete after the event that the Malaysian was among three shot putters who were late to the call room before the event started.

The Malaysian, Australian and Ecuadorian contingents had submitted counter-protests yesterday.

The Ukrainian, Maksym Koval, won the gold with Ziyad’s disqualification, while his compatriot, Oleksandr Yarovyi, and Greek athlete Efstratios Nikolaidis came in second and third, respectively.-FMT