Israelis out of the Youth World Cup: politics ruins the sport


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At the Youth Sailing World Cup in Langkawi, Malaysia, such conditions were imposed on Israeli athletes that, in effect, prevented them from participating. Politics enters the sail, even the one that should be purest, the youth. Where the value of sports must override all kinds of barriers. Below is the official document in English – drafted by Israeli authorities – attesting to the conditions imposed on the athletes.

In summary, the host organization (by the way, Malaysia has no diplomatic relations with the state of Israel) required the Israelis to run without a flag, prohibited all media relations and the issuance of press releases, and banned the playing of the national anthem in case of victory. In short, to race “anonymously,” as stateless persons, under the auspices of ISAF (the International Sailing Federation) instead of in the colors of the Jewish state. The Israeli Federation chose not to participate in the races, so windsurfing athletes Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan were left out.

Controversy immediately ensued, a blizzard on ISAF and President Carlo Croce, who were accused of bowing to the Malaysian organization’s choices and “realpolitik,” to strike a blow for the circle and a blow for the barrel. Croce told the Press, “World Cup registrations closed on Aug. 6, Israel registered on Oct. 10. Between the two countries, it should be remembered, there are no diplomatic relations. According to reports from the Malaysian Sailing Federation, the latter tried to get Israeli athletes to participate anyway, but it was very late to provide them with adequate protection. So they asked their government, which indicated measures to ensure that the athletes would not become easy targets. But visas would have been issued. Israel, however, decided not to take part, under these conditions, in the event.” Meanwhile, an extraordinary board meeting has been scheduled at the ISAF leadership today to determine errors and faults; we will see the decision and possible sanctions.

This is not the first time this has happened, however: for example, last October, in Oman (which does not recognize the State of Israel), Israeli sailors Sachar Zubari and Nimrod Mashiah (both previously on the podium) were unable to participate in the RS:X World Championship because they lacked entry visas to enter the Sultanate. A third Israeli athlete, Maayan Davidovich (third in the last two world championships) was able to race because of a second passport, Austrian, which did not require entry formalities. Even in Abu Dhabi, at the ISAF World Cup finals in both 2014 and 2015, Israeli athletes had been denied visas. And among them was an Olympic bronze medalist!

Some insinuate that ISAF wants to keep the Arab countries happy as generous financiers of sporting events (just think of the huge investments made, in sailing, by nations such as the United Arab Emirates and, indeed, Oman): “But what funding! They pay a fee like all other countries,” Croce told the Press. What do you think?





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