Let’s not cry over spilled milk

I READ the article by Lim Teik Huat in Sports Box on Sept 25 (“Just let it rest, don’t fight a losing battle”, StarSport; online at bit.ly/star_rest) concerning the disqualification of Mohd Ziyad Zolkefli in the F20 shot putt event in the recently concluded Paralympics in Tokyo and am surprised that the matter is still not closed.

The case has been politicised and was even mentioned in the Dewan Rakyat, with the Sports Minister contemplating taking the case all the way up to the international Court Of Arbitration for Sport, even though the legal fees may come up to more than US$1mil (RM4.2mil). Is it justified to spend this amount of taxpayers’ money in these trying times without any guarantee we can win the case?

I am sure the rules of the competition were spelt out quite clearly to all competitors and team officials. So there is no excuse whatsoever for turning up late. It is the duty of the team manager and officials to ensure the athlete arrives at the competition venue on time.

Excuses such as the transport arrived late or they were stuck in a traffic jam will not be entertained. A good manager should have contingency plans in place and should plan to arrive at the venue at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Our athlete is a gold medal prospect and the opportunity to win a gold medal in the Paralympics happens only once in four years.

For the referee to determine that there is no justifiable reason for the athlete’s failure to report on time is something not to be taken lightly. I am sure he is not so heartless as to deprive our athlete of the gold medal for no reason.

Punctuality is something that is taken lightly among the majority of Malaysians. When was the last time you attended a function that started at the stipulated time?

I sympathise with Mohd Ziyad and I admire his strong spirit and determination to put this unfortunate episode behind him and look forward to the next world championships and Paralympics. Most of all I hope our athletes and officials will learn from this mistake and not let it happen again in the future.

CAPT (R) OO KWAN HUAT , Butterworth, Penang

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