Australia

Malaysian shot-putter loses gold medal, appeal against disqualification for being three minutes late

Malaysian shot-putter Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli has lost an appeal against his disqualification from the F20 class shot-put at the Tokyo Paralympics for showing up late for the competition.

Zolkefli went into the event as the world record holder with 17.29m. He extended the record to 17.31m with his first throw. Then after Ukraine’s Maksym Koval broke the new record with a throw of 17.34m, Zolkefli did it again in round three, registering 17.94m.

But Zolkefli, Australia’s Todd Hodgetts and Ecuador’s Jordi Patricio Congo Villalba were all allowed to compete and later deemed DNS (did not start) after a protest against the trio arriving late to the call room before the event.

“They were late. They may have had a logical reason for being late and therefore we allowed them to compete and look at the facts of the matter afterward,” International Paralympic Committee spokesman Craig Spence said.

A statement from World Para Athletics, which governs track and field for Para sports, said the initial decision was based on rule 5.5, “Failure to Report to the Call Room”.

It said a referee had determined after the event “there was no justifiable reason for the athletes’ failure to report” on time.

“The athletes appealed the decision to the Jury of Appeal …  the Jury of Appeal upheld the Referee’s decision and confirmed the athletes’ results as DNS,” World Para Athletics said in the statement. 

The disqualification resulted in Maksym Koval of Ukraine promoted to gold, and Ukraine teammate Oleksandr Yarovyi taking silver. Bronze went to Efstratios Nikolaidis of Greece.

Spence said he did not view the penalty as harsh.

“Others get there five minutes early,” he said.

Spence said an excuse given was that disqualified athletes “didn’t hear the announcement or it was in a language” they did not understand.

  
The F20 class in shot-put is for athletes with an intellectual impairment.

‘I’m going to keep going’: Hodgetts vows to compete in Brisbane

Australia’s Todd Hodgetts (right) won bronze in Rio behind Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli (middle) but a late arrival killed his hopes in Tokyo.(

Getty Images: Alexandre Loureiro

)

Hodgetts was labelled DNS like Zolkefli and Congo Villalba.

The Tasmanian, who won gold for Australia in the same event in London and bronze five years ago in Rio, vowed to continue his career despite the setback.  

“It’s not over, I’m going to keep going,” Hodgetts told Channel Seven.

“I’d die for this. I put my body on the line.”

Hodgetts said the sport “saved my life”.

“When all them knockers out there kept on knocking me, I came back and represented my country,” he said.

Continuing a tough night for Hodgetts, he had his biggest throw chalked off as a foul, although it did not appear he had his foot out of the circle.

“I don’t reckon it was a foul,” he said.

“I gave it the [cricket TV replay signal], but it doesn’t matter.

“I’m going to go into Brisbane [in 2032]. I’ll be 44 years of age.”

He ended the interview by taking off his competition singlet and standing bare chested in the rain at the main stadium.

ABC/AP


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