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Malaysia’s Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli (left) and his coach arrive at KLIA after their return from the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics September 3, 2021. — Bernama pic
Malaysia’s Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli (left) and his coach arrive at KLIA after their return from the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics September 3, 2021. — Bernama pic

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SEPANG, Sept 3 — National shot put coach Mohd Faizol Harun has taken full responsibility for the disqualification of Muhammad Ziyak Zolkefli at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Mohd Faizol said that as the athlete’s coach, he was the one closest to Muhammad Ziyad during the Games.

“To all parties looking for who is guilty in this matter, I, as Ziyad’s coach and the one closest to him, am responsible for what happened.

“Don’t point fingers at others,” he told a media conference upon returning with the national contingent at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here today.

He also denied there was any sabotage involved, adding instead that it was a technical mistake while insisting that he and Muhammad Ziyad arrived on time at the call room.

On August 31, Muhammad Ziyad, 31, was denied the gold medal in the men’s shot put F20 (intellectual impairment) category at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo despite throwing a distance of 17.94 metres (m), which was a new world record.

He was, however, classified as Did Not Start (DNS) following a protest by the Ukraine team, who claimed that Muhammad Ziyad was late to enter the call room.

Ukraine’s Maksym Koval was announced as the gold medallist with a throw of 17.34m, breaking Muhammad Ziyad’s world record of 17.29m that he had set at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London.

However, Mohd Faizol said he had no proof to show that Muhammad Ziyad arrived at the call room on time since no one is allowed to take video recordings or photographs there.

“We reached on time and the Ukraine coach was still there. I don’t know why he was there. Actually, like me, I sent Ziyad there and then I went into the competition venue because I knew he had arrived at the call room and was safe,” he explained. — Bernama

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