We’ve all been there: running late for an important meeting, a lunch, or a social gathering.
In the instance of shot putter Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, though, his tardiness lost him a gold medal at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
After winning the men’s shot put F20 on Tuesday, the Malaysian athlete was deprived of his gold medal because he arrived three minutes late to the tournament.
According to International Paralympic Committee (IPC) spokesperson Craig Spence, Zolkefli and two other athletes were initially permitted to compete because “they may have had a reasonable explanation for being late.”
“As a result, we let them compete and then looked at the facts later,” Spence explained.
According to a statement from track and field governing organization World Para Athletics, a referee eventually decided that there was “no reasonable explanation for the competitors’ inability” to turn up to the event on time.
As a result, Zolkefli’s name began to trend on Twitter, with some users bemoaning his loss.
“You gave it your all. There’s no need to apologize, champ. Our hero, Ziyad Zolkefli, make a stronger comeback “one user said on Twitter. Another remarked, “It’s really painful for Ziyad Zolkefli.”
Others were enraged by Maksym Koval of Ukraine, who had won silver but was given gold after Zolkefli was disqualified. The comments were “extremely nasty,” according to Spence.
“In my opinion, this is ridiculous. Yes, you can be dissatisfied with the decision, but what I’m seeing currently on all of our social media posts are comments that have nothing to do with the men’s shot put F20 event ” Spence said.
“The choice was made, and it was not the responsibility of the Ukrainians. The Malaysian arrived late in the contact center “Spence continued. “It’s really upsetting that such harassment occurs on social media.”
Oleksandr Yarovyi, Koval’s Ukrainian colleague, won silver, while Efstratios Nikolaidis of Greece took bronze.