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Paralympics Controversy Over Malaysian Shot Putter

The disqualification of a Malaysian shot putter, who appeared to have won a gold medal in the Paralympics, is causing some controversy.

On Tuesday, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli claimed victory in a shot put competition in the F20 class, but was stripped from his gold medal for showing up three minutes late. 

The F20 class in the shot put is for athletes with intellectual disabilities. 

Craig Spence, International Paralympic Committee spokesman, said that Zolkefli and two others were allowed to compete under protest after they failed to appear on time. Spence also said that an excuse given was that the three men “didn’t hear the announcement or it was in a language” they did not understand.

The World Para Athletics, which governs track and field for Para sports, released a statement saying that it was determined after the event that there was no justifiable reason for the athletes’ failure to report on time. 

After the disqualification, Ukrainian teammates Maksym Koval got the gold medal and Oleksandr Yarovyi took the silver. Efstratios Nikolaidis from Greece received the bronze medal. 

According to Spence, people are taking their anger over the disqualification to social media with abusive comments targeting Ukrainians. He also said that the Ukrainian Paralympic Committee “was getting a lot of abuse from Malaysians.”

As a journalism graduate, I know the importance of a deadline and being in places on time. Even though I value the characteristic of being on time, I have had experiences with others who have looser schedules and lifestyles, but still manage to be incredibly productive. Getting disqualified after winning a gold medal for showing up three minutes late to a sports competition seems a little exaggerated to me. I also hope that the hatred doesn’t get any further than a few social media posts by some keyboard warriors. The world is already messed up as it is and we don’t need violence that’s fueled by an event that is supposed to provide entertainment.

NYC, NYCTastemakers, paralympics, controversy, muhammadziyadzolkefli, ukraine, malaysia,  

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