In a recent development, the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) has backed their decision to strip a Malaysian athlete of his gold medal which he won at the ongoing Paralympics 2020. Notably, shot putter Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli clinched the gold in F20 class but was later disqualified as he arrived three minutes late for the event.
In their defence, the IPC said that Zolkefli was allowed to compete because at the time he had a "logical" reason for being late. However, a referee later found that there was in fact no "justifiable reason" for him to turn up late for the games which was the reason he has been denied a medal.
Following the decision, the Malaysians have especially been vocal about their stance on the entire issue. The decision is being frowned upon by the populace of the country who is supporting Zolkefli.
Don't steal this hard-earned, world record-breaking medal from Ziyad: Malaysian MP
"Absolutely disgraceful! You should not have allowed the athletes to compete if they were late. Don't steal this hard-earned, world record-breaking medal from Ziyad," said Malaysian MP Fahmi Fadzil.
Meanwhile, Malaysia's Youth and Sports Minister Ahmad Faizul Azumu has said that the country's National Sports Council has been ordered to investigate the entire matter, adding he was left "disappointed" by the turn of events and the eventual decision to strip Zolkefli of his medal.
"The athletes have waited for five years but their hopes and spirits were destroyed by a delay of not even five minutes... this is something which is very sad," he said in a report by local news outlet The Star.
Wasn't the Ukrainians' fault that the Malaysian was late: IPC
Malaysian media reports also claim that it was Ukraine who had filed a protest against Zolkefli for turning up late to the call room before the start of the event.
IPC spokesman Craig Spence also noted that there have been abusive comments online after the disqualification of Zolkefli, especially against the Ukrainians but he insisted that "ruled are rules" and Ukraine wasn't even responsible for the shot putter turning up late.
"I'm sorry. Rules are rules. The decision was taken. It wasn't the Ukrainians' fault that the Malaysian was late," he said, according to a report by the Associated Press.