Malaysian Shotputter Stripped of Paralympics Gold

The International Paralympics Committee (IPC) has disqualified and stripped of Paralympics gold from a Malaysian shot putter for turning up late in the F20 finals in Tokyo on Tuesday.

IPC spokesman Craig Spence said Malaysian shot putter Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli arrived three minutes late at the podium but was allowed to compete under protest while the referee considered all the evidence. 

The two Ukrainian athletes, Maksym Koval and Oleksandr Yarovyi, who placed second and third, complained that the Malaysian and two others turned up late. 

A statement from World Para Athletics said a referee had determined after the event that there was no justifiable reason for the athletes’ failure to report on time.

The disqualification gave the gold to Ukraine’s Maksym Koval instead, silver to Ukraine teammate Oleksandr Yarovyi, and bronze to Efstratios Nikolaidis of Greece. 

Spence said the decision was met with anger on social media and was “very abusive.” 

“I’m sorry. Rules are rules. The decision was taken. It wasn’t the Ukrainians’ fault that Malaysia was late,” Spense added.

Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister Ahmad Faizul Azumu said the country’s National Sports Council had been ordered to investigate.

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