KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Malaysians unhappy with yesterday’s Tokyo Paralympics shot put results have continued to pepper the Facebook page of the local Ukrainian Embassy with taunts today, even after an amelioratory message from its ambassador Olexander Nechytaylo.
Utusan Malaysia reported that the Ukrainian Embassy had temporarily deactivated its Facebook page yesterday after it was reportedly flooded with taunts from Malaysians upset that its paralympian Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli lost the men’s shot put gold medal to the European nation.
“You seek to return Crimea to Ukraine, why don’t you start by returning gold to Malaysia back?” wrote one Facebook user going by the name Mohd Razif in the comments section of the Ukrainian Embassy’s August 30 post to commemorate the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearance.
Other Facebook users posted shorter but equally pointed barbs, accusing Ukraine of cheating and being cowardly.
“Stolen Gold Medal! Shame on You!” said one Sul Hanif Sulaiman.
“Ukraine cheaters!” said Rif Tri.
Facebooker MN Zaim Zaini used a hashtag post that has been trending in Malaysia since yesterday following the Paralympics men’s shot put results: “#JusticeForZiyad”.
In his Facebook post, Ukrainian Ambassador to Malaysia Nechytaylo took a neutral stance to defuse the situation, saying there were some issues about the decision of the organising committee that caused the controversy.
He congratulated Ziyad for the outstanding performance and breaking the world record while hoping that the issue could be resolved quickly and transparently.
“Ziyad will remain a true Champion in the hearts of everyone, not just Malaysians,” Nechytaylo wrote on his Facebook page yesterday.
Ziyad had his gold medal revoked after delivering a record-breaking performance at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
According to a report by Astro Awani, Ziyad was disqualified over a technicality after a protest from Ukrainian athlete Maksym Koval after the event, who claimed that Ziyad was late to the call room before the event started.
Ukraine’s Koval was awarded the gold medal instead.
The decision by the officials from the Paralympic Games has met with overwhelming outcry from Malaysia, with former youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin saying the decision was in bad taste and went against the spirit of the games.