PUTRAJAYA – The Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) will propose to the Cabinet with regard to giving an appropriate reward to national shot putter Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli (picture) as an appreciation for his achievement at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said they never expected or even took into consideration such a disqualification when drawing up the policy of rewarding athletes who achieved success in multi-sports Games.
“It never crossed our mind that if such an incident occurred, how we would reward the athlete. This is an isolated case, a bit like the COVID-19 pandemic which, at first, no country knew what to do… just like Muhammad Ziyad’s case.
“So, I wish to propose to the Cabinet the possibility of looking at this matter as it is a bit isolated and never happened before,” he told a media conference at the handing over of duty ceremony at Menara KBS here today.
On Tuesday (Aug 31), the world sports arena was rocked by a shocking incident in Tokyo after Muhammad Ziyad was denied the gold medal in the men’s F20 shot put event. His throw of a distance of 17.94 metres (m) was also a new world record for the event.
He was classified as Did Not Start (DNS) following a protest lodged by Ukraine, who claimed that Muhammad Ziyad was 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 of 17.29m that he had set at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London.
The disqualification means Muhammad Ziyad will miss out on the RM1 million reward under the National Sports Incentives Scheme (SHAKAM) for winning a Paralympic gold medal as well as an additional reward of RM100,000 from FWD Takaful.
Local media had previously reported that several parties had urged that the SHAKAM reward be given to Muhammad Ziyad as a token of appreciation for his sacrifices and achievements in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Faizal said the Cabinet members each had a responsibility to their respective ministries and also for every expenditure incurred.
“Expenditure by the ministries, which is the government, is the people’s money and we have to be responsible for what we spend,” he said.
Former Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, meanwhile, said he was optimistic that the reward proposal would be welcomed by the Cabinet, which has several former KBS ministers i the line-up, among them Tan Sri Annuar Musa, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar.