TOKYO, Sept 1 — Malaysia received bad news when World Para Athletics (WPA) rejected its appeal on the men’s shot put F20 (intellectual impairment) result in Tokyo Paralympic Games, last night.
National athlete Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli who broke the world record twice and would have won the gold in the event was classified as Did Not Start (DNS) due to a protest lodged against him.
Similar protests were also lodged against athletes from Australia and Ecuador who were classified the same (DNS).
WPA in a statement stated that they also rejected the appeals made by athletes from Australia and Ecuador.
It said the decision was based on World Para Athletics Rule 5.5 – ‘Failure to Report to the Call Room’ which stated that in case 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).
Despite the teams given the opportunity to present all relevant information before making its final decision, WPA further explained that the Jury of Appeal eventually upheld the referee’s decision and confirmed the results as DNS.
Ziyad Zolkefli was a shattered man after his moment of glory in the men’s shot put F20 final was cruelly snatched away from him in the event held at the Olympic Stadium.
The 31-year-old athlete thought he had managed to defend his gold medal from the 2016 Rio Paralympics when he hurled the shot put to a distance of 17.31m with his very first attempt to break his previous world mark of 17.29m set at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London.
Then, in his third attempt, he threw it even further to 17.94m to leave his rivals trailing in his wake.
Then disaster struck as Ukraine lodged a protest with the technical committee, who then disqualified Muhammad Ziyad and two others – Jordi Patricio Congo Villalba of Ecuador and Australia’s Todd Hodgets – for supposedly being late to enter the call room.
Ukraine’s Maksym Koval was announced as the gold medallist with a throw of 17.34m, breaking Muhammad Ziyad’s world record set in London.
Another Ukrainian, Oleksandr Yarovyi took silver with a throw of 17.30m while Greece’s Efstratios Nikolaidis (15.93m) settled for bronze.