Spotlight turns to team officials managing Paralympian Ziyad over loss of gold medal

All eyes are now on the officials accompanying Paralympian Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli who was “robbed” of his gold medal and world record following a call room violation at the Tokyo Paralympics two days ago.

According to deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker, Ziyad and two other athletes from Australia and Ecuador were allegedly late as they were still on the tracks and had only headed to the call room at 5.55pm (Tokyo time), which was the scheduled call room time.

Ti quoted Para 5 of the World Para Athletics competition rules (Failure to Report to the Call Rooms) which reads: “An athlete shall be excluded from participation in any event in which he is not present in the Call Room(s) at the relevant time as published in the Call Room schedule. He shall be shown in the results as DNS (Did Not Start).

“The relevant referee will decide on this (including whether the athlete may compete under protest if a decision cannot be made immediately) and the corresponding reference must be made in the official results.

“Justifiable reasons (e.g. factors independent of the athlete’s own actions such as problems with the official transport system or an error in the published Call Room schedule) may after confirmation, be accepted by the Referee and the athlete may then be allowed to take part.”

The Paralympic Council of Malaysia (PCM), together with their counterparts from Australia and Ecuador, had immediately appealed against the decision but were left disappointed.

Ziyad, during the men’s shot put F20 (intellectual impairment) event on Monday, recorded a 17.94m throw – erasing his own world record of 17.29m, set in 2017.

The gold medal instead went to Ukraine’s Maksym Koval, who set a new world record of 17.34m, while his countryman Oleksandr Yarovyi got the silver after managing a 17.30m throw. Greece’s Efstratios Nikolaidis picked up the bronze after recording 15.93m.

It remains unclear if additional steps were taken by the accompanying officials in the Malaysian contingent to ensure Ziyad would be on time for his event.

Many Malaysians, however, criticised the decision that “robbed” Ziyad of his gold medal effort and new world record, saying that it was “harsh” and “unfair”.

PCM president Datuk Seri Megat D. Shahriman Zaharudin, during a brief virtual press conference this afternoon, said the council would protest the decision by writing to the International Paralympic Council.

Megat Shahriman, who is also the Chef de Mission (CDM) of the national contingent, said: “During the CDM meeting this morning, I explained Ziyad’s situation to the organising committee, but the committee said all protests and appeals can be made to the International Paralympics Committee and World Para Athletics.”

“As PCM president, I will ensure that we will take the necessary steps to defend the plight of our champion shot putter. I met Ziyad and informed him of what had happened during the CDM meeting this morning and he seemed open to what had transpired.

“On behalf of the national contingent, I would like to say sorry to Malaysians over what had taken place,” he added.

Journalists, however, were unable to field questions as Megat left the video call right after he ended his speech.

Ziyad’s predicament also caught the attention of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. The newly minted prime minister said Ziyad remained a champion in the hearts of Malaysians and prayed that the “gold medal victory remains in the hands of Malaysia”.

Ziyad also posted an apology on his Instagram page.

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights today.

COVID-19 MAIN FOCUS OF PM’S FIRST CABINET MEETING

The latest Covid-19 situation in the country was the focus of today’s Cabinet meeting – the first chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Ismail Sabri said the meeting stressed on reinforcing health measures by all ministries to spur economic activities that would benefit the people and the country.

He also reminded his ministers to prove their achievements within 100 days, and that all forms of aid announced must be handed out as soon as possible.

The Cabinet meeting was held via video conferencing as Ismail Sabri is observing self-quarantine after coming in close contact with a Covid-19 patient.

PAYMENT OF COVID-19 SPECIAL AID TO BE EXPEDITED

Phase 1 of the Covid-19 Special Aid, which was supposed to have been given out last month, would be expedited in stages, soon.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had instructed the Finance Minister to disburse some RM3.1 billion of the funds to the respective financial institutions.

“The crediting process for Phase 1 will begin on Sept 6 and is expected to end by Sept 10. The aid will benefit 10 million recipients, the hardcore poor, B40 group, M40 group and singles who are eligible,” said Ismail Sabri.

Meanwhile, Malaysia recorded a total 18,762 new Covid-19 infections today.

NOW THOSE AGED 18 CAN CONTEST IN GE – IN PENANG

Penang joins Sabah, Perlis, Terengganu, Sarawak, Kelantan, and Perak in allowing those aged 18 and above to contest in the general election.

The move would also change the voting and eligibility age of candidates for state seats, from 21, to 18.

The motion was proposed by state Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee and seconded by state Domestic and International Trade, Consumer Affairs and Entrepreneur Development Committee chairman, Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain.

It was supported by all representatives, including opposition members, through voice vote.

BUSINESSMAN FACES 69 COUNTS OF FRAUD INVOLVING GOVT PROJECTS

Businessman Datuk Adly Kamarudin, today claimed trial at the Shah Alam Sessions Court to 69 charges under Section 468 of the Penal Code for facilitating fraud in relation to government projects.

The 47-year-old businessman was accused of directing eight of his employees to forge 69 documents related to various projects, with the intent of cheating the Public Works Department. He was accused of committing the offences in a bungalow at Bandar Baru Bangi from June 2019, to September last year.

Sessions Court judge Rozillah Salleh allowed for bail to be set at RM500,000 and ordered the accused to pay his bail by 11am tomorrow.

PERAK FC SETTLES SALARIES OF BRAZILIAN DUO

Perak FC has finally paid up the two months’ salary owed to its former imports, Brazilian Leandro Dos Santos and Raianderson Da Costa.

Perak FC general manager Azman Noh said the salaries were for the months of May and June.

Azman expressed his appreciation to Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad for helping the team in finding financial resources to resolve the claims against the team.