Sunday, January 27, 2019

  • Sunday, January 27, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon


The International Paralympic Committee (IPC), in its meeting in London that started last week, has announced that it will not hold the Para Swimming competition in Malaysia this summer after that country said that it would not allow any Israeli athletes to compete.

In a statement just released, the IPC said the decision was made, "after the Home Ministry of Malaysia failed to provide the necessary guarantees that Israeli Para swimmers could participate, free from discrimination, and safely in the Championships."

Notably, the IPC also insisted that Malaysia not only allow the Israelis to compete but also to allow them to show the Israeli flag, and play its national anthem if Israeli athletes win.

Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “All World Championships must be open to all eligible athletes and nations to compete safely and free from discrimination. When a host country excludes athletes from a particular nation, for political reasons, then we have absolutely no alternative but to look for a new Championships host.

“The Paralympic Movement has, and always will be, motivated by a desire to drive inclusion, not exclusion. Regardless of the countries involved in this matter, the IPC would take the same decision again if it was to face a similar situation involving different countries.

“In September 2017 when the IPC signed the contract with the Paralympic Council of Malaysia (NPC Malaysia) to host the World Para Swimming Championships, we had assurances that all eligible athletes and countries would be allowed to participate in the event with their safety assured.

“Since then, there has been a change of political leadership and the new Malaysian government has different ideas. Politics and sport are never a good mix and we are disappointed that Israeli athletes would not have been allowed to compete in Malaysia.

“As a result of the Board’s decision today, we are now looking for a new host for this vital World Championships, which acts as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. We will strive to maintain the same dates and conditions for the Championships as to not upset the training schedules of athletes who aim to peak for the end of July and early August. However, we may need to be flexible in this area bearing in mind the circumstances we face.”

Chelsey Gotell, Chairperson of the IPC Athletes’ Council, added: “Not only does this decision stress the importance of keeping sport and politics separate, but it also reinforces the IPC's commitment to our fundamental moral and ethical principles that encompass inclusivity of all eligible Para athletes and nations to compete at IPC sanctioned events.”

Around 600 swimmers from 60 nations were anticipated to take part in Kuching.

The IPC is looking for alternate hosts for the games, asking any countries that are interested in responding with proposals within two weeks, by February 11.

I hope that the IPC also sues the nation of Malaysia for the money it spent on the games, and to reimburse the athletes who have bought tickets and hotel reservations.

This is excellent news, and this decision will not only cement the decisions about future Paralympics games but it will also influence other sports to do the right thing and avoid any events in countries that discriminate against Israelis, or anyone.

Bravo, IPC!



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