A Malaysian cyclist in the 2014 Commonwealth Games faced disqualification. He was caught with the words “save Gaza” on his gloves, which is against the Commonwealth Games policy. The actions are currently under investigation and the Games commission will decide on the punishment should it find he broke the rules.
Azizulhasni Awang chose to write the words “save Gaza” on the knuckles of his gloves. It is clearly an attempt at showing his protest in the events happening between the Israelis and Palestinians at the moment, but the Commonwealth Games is no place for something like that.
Just like the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games rules state that the Games cannot be used for political protests and statements. This is to prevent events being used for a platform for various actions happening around the world.
An argument could be brought up in defense for the Malaysian cyclist considering the political protest John Barrowman made during the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday night. The Dr. Who actor kissed a man, causing outrage for the 42 countries in the Games that make homosexuality illegal.
The Opening Ceremony can be used for fun, and Barrowman is known for his actions on stage during his pantomimes, which may be why he has gotten away with it. He is also not a member of one of the sporting teams. It is different when an actual sporting event is used as a political platform.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games Malaysian cyclist faced disqualification and disciplinary action. However, an investigation needs to happen first. It could have meant that the cyclist would not take part in the quarter-finals and the person who was ranked after him will take his place. In the end, the Federation decided that he should just get a warning for his protest.
The 26-year-old is extremely lucky. Had the investigation decided against him, he may have even lost his accreditation. However, he has just been warned and told not to wear them on Friday for the quarter-finals. If he breaks that rule, he will likely definitely face disqualification from the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
According to Awang, the statement was never meant for political reasons. It was meant for humanitarian reasons. He took to Facebook to apologize to those who misinterpreted the statement and clarified that it was to support humanitarian efforts to save the people of Gaza.
This is not the first time international games have been used for questionable platforms. In the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, the Argentineans created a trailer for one of their runners training on the Falkland Islands. This was a major sore-spot for the United Kingdom and the members of the Islands due to the 1982 war. Some people in the U.K. called for Argentina to be barred from competing, but it was argued that that would have definitely made it political and it could not happen.
Over the years, some countries have decided to protest against political situations by not turning up to international games. Russian and America both did this in the 1980s.
Awang has been very lucky considering the way his protest was viewed. The Malaysian cyclist faced disqualification from the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but has just been given a warning.
By Alexandria Ingham