PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are aghast over the Tokyo Paralympics 2020 committee’s decision to disqualify Malaysian Paralympian Ahmad Ziyad Zolkepli following a protest by the Ukrainian team.
The committee’s tweet announcing that Ukraine had taken the gold medal received a backlash from social media users, including non-Malaysians.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said a counter-protest had been lodged by Malaysian officials at the Tokyo Paralympics and this was still being discussed by all parties involved at press time.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also took to social media to express his disappointment at the committee’s announcement of the disqualification of Ziyad, who had won the gold medal at the Rio Paralympics 2016.
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.
— Khairy Jamaluddin (@Khairykj) August 31, 2021
“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,” the former youth and sports minister said in reply to the Tokyo Paralympics official account’s announcement that Ukraine had taken the gold and silver medals.
“Agree. Very unprofessional. No sportsmanship,” a Twitter user said, replying to the former Youth and Sport minister (KBS).
“Such a humiliation to our athlete who (had) already completed his six throws with (a) world record!” another user tweeted.
Many social media users said that the committee should have taken action before the competition started instead of after it had ended.
Malaysian gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi also tweeted her disappointment at the news.
This is so unfair, so unprofessional and unsportsmanlike.
— Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (@farahannhadi) August 31, 2021
“This is so unfair, so unprofessional and unsportsmanlike,” she wrote.
Twitter user @aripfredo said, “UKR (Ukraine) should have protested before the game (started). That is not how you win the gold medal.”
“The world knows Ziyad broke the world record today. Just saying,” Twitter user @JatIkhwan replied to the committee’s tweet.
Keywords such as “Ziyad” and “Unprofessional” alongside “Tokyo Paralympics” have been trending on the Malaysian Twitter space for the past hour.
Despite the news, Malaysians still congratulated Ziyad on his feat.
“It is okay Ziyad, you are still our hero,” a Facebook user commented on The Star’s post.
“Ukraine won but lost in terms of sportsmanship,” another Facebook user commented.
Ziyad broke the world record twice in Tokyo, hurling 17.94m to retain his Paralympic men’s shot putt F20 title at the Olympic Stadium.
However, moments after the event finished, officials removed the results of Ziyad and two other competitors after a protest was launched by the Ukraine team on the grounds that the trio were late to enter the call area.