THE ‘ZIYAD MESS’ IN TOKYO PARALYMPICS

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 – There has been a lot of hue and cry in Malaysia over Ziyad Zolkefli’s ”disqualification” but let us not turn it into another story of finding scapegoats for the incompetence of certain officials.
Instead of buying time by saying that ”we will not sit on this and will take the matter to the highest level” to get back the lost gold medal, the Chef de Mission (Datuk Seri Megat D. Shahriman) should, instead, make himself available for investigation.
As it is common in Malaysia, those with tainted records, are still available for high positions in various sports bodies or otherwise.
For the record, Megat Shahriman has a tainted record with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) – for violating Clause 6 of the MHC Disciplinary Code. He was slapped an 18-month suspension from Nov 2020.
This leaves a big question mark of how he was named as the CDM? Political connections? Yes. It all points to that.
In Malaysia you are a ”king” if you have political links. It has happened once too often and will it be another case (The Ziyad Mess) being swept under the carpet?
Everyone is aware that in Malaysia, if you have the political links you are free as bird. No need to worry of court cases. Even if you are hauled up, you can still buy time by various means. Surprised? Nothing to be surprised.
Coming back to the Ziyad episode, what hurts most is that a handicap person (intellectual impaired) is a victim due to the incompetence of an able bodied person(s) entrusted to look after para athletes.
Ziyad, worked and trained hard for five years after winning the gold at the Rio Paralympics in 2016.
What happened in Tokyo has denied him his hard earned dues (in the form of incentives plus other rewards). It has cost him and his family millions in income.
His livelihood has been affected. From a kuey teow seller to an international para celebrity, it is best described in his words ”I AM LOST FOR WORDS” – still coming to terms with episode in Tokyo through no fault of his.
It is sad. Sad indeed for someone who cares for his family and also others.
We feel sorry for the shell-shocked 31-year-old has been virtually ”robbed” of the gold and the world record due to incompetent officials who flopped in their designated job. There should be no cover-up.
It was not a kampung competition nor a inter-district or a state or a national meet. Not even the regional meet like the SEA Games or the Asian Games. We are talking the Paralympics, on par with the Olympics.
But it has turned out to be a holiday of many of the able bodied officials picked to look after the handicap picked on merit to keep the Jalur Gemilang flying.
For the record, let us not forget about swimmer who was a victim of two disqualifications in Tokyo.
Nursaiful Zulkafli was disqualified not once but twice in his events – in the men’s 200m freestyle S5 and the 100m breaststroke SB4.

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