Chef de mission denies claim Ziyad was 28 minutes late to waiting room

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Malaysia’s chief de mission to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, Datuk Seri Megat D Shahriman Zaharudin, strongly denies an allegation that shot put champion Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli was late to the competition venue by 28 minutes on Tuesday (Aug 31).

Megat D Shahriman said the allegation reported in a local newspaper on Friday (Sept 3), which quoted sources from the national contingent, was inaccurate as it had not provided any input from any quarter, including the reporter concerned.

“I am refuting the claim in the newspaper report. The story given by the sources is irresponsible,” he told Bernama on Sunday (Sept 5).

Megat D Shahriman hoped the individual perpetrating the action would be more responsible because any speculation that was untrue could affect the investigation into the issue.

The issue involved the withdrawal of the gold medal from Ziyad, who participated in the shot put F20 event (intellectual impairment) recently.

In this regard, Megat D Shahriman, who is also Malaysian Paralympic Council president, was prepared to be contacted by the media at any time if they want to get further clarification on the matter.

On Tuesday, Ziyad was denied the gold medal in the men’s shot put F20 with a recorded throw of 17.94m, which was also a new world record.

He was classified as “Did Not Start (DNS)” following a protest by the Ukrainian team who claimed that Ziyad was late in reporting to the waiting room before the event took place.

The controversy on the seventh day of the prestigious event saw Ukrainian athlete Maksym Koval being announced as the gold medal winner with a 17.34m throw.

He also simultaneously broke the record held by Ziyad, namely, 17.29 m which the latter had set at the 2017 London Paralympics Athletics Championship.

On Friday, the Youth and Sports Ministry agreed to launch an internal investigation into the cancellation of Ziyad’s participation and victory at the prestigious Games.

According to Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, the committee would be under the supervision of the National Sports Council with the involvement of independent members.

The committee would be chaired by former Public Service Department director-general Tan Sri Borhan Dolah.

Its members comprised former Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Salim Parlan and Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) chief coach Mohd Manshahar Abdul Jalil