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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Heartbreak for Ziyad in Tokyo

 National Paralympic shot putter Ziyad Zokefli was disqualified for a call room violation in the men's shot put F20 (learning disabilities) final at the Tokyo Paralympics. - BERNAMA PIC

KUALA LUMPUR: It was heartbreak for para-athlete Ziyad Zolkefli, who was disqualified for a call room violation in the men's shot put F20 (learning disabilities) final at the Tokyo Paralympics on Tuesday.

Despite a massive 17.94m throw, the 2016 Rio Paralympics gold medallist could not defend his title following a protest by Ukraine.

As a result, Ukraine's Maksym Koval was awarded the gold with a new world record of 17.34m, while his compatriot, Oleksandr Yarovyi (17.30m) took the silver.

Greece's Efstratios Nikolaidis (15.93m) settled for the bronze.

It is understood the Malaysian secretariat are challenging the final decision, but it remains to be seen if there will be any changes to the official result.

Two other athletes, Equador's Jordi Patricio Congo Villalba and Australia's Todd Hodgetts were also disqualified for call room violation.

It was a huge letdown for the Smiling Giant who had wished to present Malaysia with the perfect Merdeka Day gift.

"I really don't know what is going on. I have done my best and I don't even know what to say right now," said Ziyad, who would have also set a new able-bodied national record, beating Adi Alifudin Hussin's 17.54m set at the 2011 Sea Games in Palembang he had won gold. - NST

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