Politics reared its ugly head in sports once more on Thursday, this time at the World Team Cup wheelchair tennis event at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo.
Israel was scheduled to face Morocco in a Men's World Group 2 tie for positions 5-8, but the Moroccans never showed up, being ordered to forfeit by their local paralympic committee.
"This is a sad day for sports, and an even sadder day for paralympic sports," said Israel coach Nimrod Bichler. "Politics have mixed with sports in the past, but paralympic sports were always different." Israel's team, which includes Amir Levi, Adam Berdichevsky and Asi Stokol, was awarded a default 3-0 victory.
...The ITF told The Jerusalem Post in response to Thursday's incident.
"The ITF was established to, among other things, preserve the integrity and independence of tennis as a sport, and to do so without unfair discrimination on the grounds of color, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or religion. In light of the report that the Moroccan team failed to play a scheduled match against Israel in Men’s World Group II of the ITF Wheelchair World Team Cup, we will contact the Moroccan Tennis Federation as a matter of urgency to establish the facts of this situation, and we will follow the relevant ITF Wheelchair regulations and the ITF Constitution, as necessary, to determine the appropriate action."
As this photo shows, the Malaysian team did play Israel - and posed with them:
It will be interesting to see if the Moroccan team is praised or vilified in Morocco's media. Sofar, I didn't see any stories about this there.
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