The Israeli swim team found itself snubbed on Tuesday during the opening ceremony of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Dubai. As the competition organizers announced each participating nation while the teams marched into the arena, they failed to call the Jewish state by its name, curtly dubbing it 'ISR.'The National (UAE) does not mention the snub:
Over 800 athletes from 148 countries are participating in the competition, which is taking place at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex. The state of the art facility was built especially for the event, and costing $100 million.
Hanging from the roof of the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex, sandwiched inbetween the flags of Iceland and Italy, appears a sight virtually invisible in the UAE.Palestine Press Agency has a different spin, saying that the Israeli team was "exposed to humiliation and contempt" during the opening ceremony. Palestine Today called it a "great insult." They also mention that apparently the TV coverage did not show the Israeli flag or swimmers during the opening ceremony, unlike all the other nations.
The national emblem of Israel represents just one of 153 countries - from Albania to Zimbabwe via Iraq and North Korea - that are competing in the Fina World Swimming Championships in Dubai.
The UAE does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, but the country's five-member team have been granted access to the Emirates and will compete in 20 events across the championship's five days.
Gal Nevo, who yesterday morning competed in the men's 200-metre freestyle, was their first swimmer to appear on the pool deck.
He said his team arrived a day late because "there was some problem with security" and added they are operating under heightened supervision, which includes seven or eight "visible" bodyguards.