Tokyo Paralympics: Ziyad’s controversial disqualification mars Day Seven for Malaysia


TOKYO, Aug 31  — The controversial disqualification of national athlete Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli in the men’s shot put F20 (intellectual impairment) category took the shine off Day Seven for the Malaysian camp at the Tokyo Paralympics here today.

The joy Muhammad Ziyad felt when he thought he had retained the gold medal he won at the 2016 Rio edition was shortlived when the Ukraine camp lodged a protest against the 31-year-old, claiming that the Malaysian was late to arrive at the call room before the event began at the Olympic Stadium here.

That resulted in the Malaysian being classified as did not start (DNS) although he had completed all his throws in the final of the event.

He wasn’t alone though as two more athletes – Ecuador’s Jordi Patricio Congo Villalba and Australian Todd Hodgets – were classified as DNS as well.

The Malaysian camp, disappointed with the decision made by the competition’s technical committee, then lodged a joint protest with Ecuador and Australia.

Chef de mission Datuk Seri Megat D Shahriman Zaharudin also announced that Malaysia would submit an appeal to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and World Para Athletics (WPA) regarding the decision.

Meanwhile, national boccia player Chew Wei Lun has found himself just one step away from marking his Paralympic debut with a gold medal after qualifying for the final of the mixed individual BC1 (physical impairment) category tomorrow (Sept 1).

Wei Lun, who has now gone six matches unbeaten, including four in his Group B fixtures, faces an acid test in the final as he will be up against defending champion Dave Smith of Great Britain.

In his two matches today, world number 11 Wei Lun overcame China’s Qi Zhang 4-2 in the quarter-finals before sending world number 18 Andre Ramos of Portugal packing 9-5 in the last four.

Meanwhile, misfortune befell the national cycling team when Nur Azlia Syafinaz Mohd Zais had to be rushed to the medical centre after experiencing breathing difficulties while competing in the women’s B (vision impairment) time trial race. 

National coach Sallehuddin Mohd Noh said this resulted in Nur Azlia and her pilot, Nurul Suhada Zainal, not completing the final at the Fuji International Speedway, about 109 kilometres (km), from here.

He said the duo might now miss out on competing in the women’s B road race on Friday (Sept 3).

Mohamad Yusof Hafizi Shaharuddin, meanwhile, did well to finish fifth in 26 minutes 46.5s out of 11 cyclists in the final of the men’s C1 (physical impairment) time trial.

Malaysia’s two other men cyclists, Muhammad Hafiz Jamali and Zuhairie Ahmad Tarmizi, however, ended their Paralympic debut empty-handed in the men’s C5 (physical impairment) time trial final.

While Muhammad Hafiz came in 12th, Zuhairi did not finish the race.