Saturday, September 25, 2021

Athlete’s disqualification ‘by the book’ but still room for appeal, says expert

But this would take a long time, Nik Erman Nik Roseli warns.

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Malaysia can still appeal against the disqualification of national athlete Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli from the men’s shot-put F20 final at the Tokyo Paralympics despite the World Para Athletics’ decision dismissing the initial appeal filed after he lost the gold medal over a technical error.

But Nik Erman Nik Roseli, an expert in sports law, said this might take a long time.

“The decision will not be known today or tomorrow,” Erman told MalaysiaNow.

“It will depend on the grounds raised. What is important is that the reasons given do not indicate fault on the part of the athlete himself.”

Ziyad, who won the gold at the 2016 Rio Paralympics Games, was classified as did not start (DNS) despite completing all his throws in the final at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.

He was disqualified along with Jordi Patricio Congo Villalba of Ecuador and Australia’s Todd Hodgets for supposedly being late to enter the call area after a protest lodged by Ukraine, whose athlete Maksym Koval was subsequently announced as the gold medallist.

Erman said Ziyad had been allowed to compete in the event as the referee had yet to make a decision on whether to declare him inadmissible.

He said according to a statement by sports governing body World Athletics, Ziyad had been allowed to compete on a conditional basis.

“In such situations, the referee can decide between barring the athlete from contesting or allowing him or her to participate conditionally pending a decision.

“That is why it was cancelled after the event ended,” he said. “The official statement says that Ziyad was allowed to contest conditionally.

“This means that even as he was participating in the event, Ziyad knew that a decision had yet to be made.”

Erman acknowledged that this might seem a severe punishment but said the committee was entitled to its decision under the rules of the Paralympic Games.

“Personally I do not agree with the decision but the rules are clear that the referee can make such a decision.

“Whether it is a heavy punishment or not might not be relevant because it is provided for in the rules. So based on the statement issued, it was not an extreme act.”

Instead, he said, the committee had acted by the book.

“If the rules state that you cannot be late, you cannot be late.”

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