The price of blind hatred – Oman has chosen to lose the honor and benefits of hosting the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships rather than admitting Israelis into its country.
The Arab state of Oman has withdrawn as host of the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships after failing to submit written confirmation it would abide by anti-discrimination regulations, sailing’s governing body said Monday.
Oman’s withdrawal as host comes less than three months after two Israeli windsurfers withdrew from the 2015 world championships due to conditions imposed by Malaysian government authorities which ensured their participation would be impossible.
World Sailing didn’t punish the Malaysian Sailing Federation, but said in January that an investigation found that requirements by the Malaysian government breached the governing body’s “no-discrimination” regulations.
Any bid to host a world championship has to include an explicit acceptance of the regulations, World Sailing spokesman Daniel Smith said. Oman didn’t submit written confirmation that it would accept the regulations, only a notification that it was withdrawing as host, Smith said.
In late December, the Israel Sailing Association said windsurfers Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan, and coach Meir Yaniv were denied visas to compete in the youth worlds in Malaysia. The association said Malaysia had made “unacceptable” demands by forbidding athletes from carrying their country’s flag or wearing any symbol on their attire and boards that showed their country of origin.
In January, World Sailing officials said they regretted that the Israeli sailors were unable to compete and that in the future, they can sanction national governing bodies for breaches of the “no discrimination” regulations.
World Sailing said the Oman Sailing Committee had the right to withdraw because a contract hadn’t been finalized. A search for an alternative venue for the December regatta will begin immediately.
Smith said World Sailing was disappointed with Oman’s decision because it wants sailing to occur in as many countries as possible, but he reiterated the need to comply with the anti-discrimination regulations.
In October, Israeli windsurfer Ma’ayan Davidovich competed in the world championships in Oman after entering the Muslim Sultanate with her Austrian passport.
Davidovich was unable to compete with the Israeli flag or country code, ISR, on her sail. Rather, she used ISAF, the acronym for the International Sailing Federation. ISAF later changed its name to World Sailing.
Israel has repeatedly encountered discrimination by Muslim countries, and specifically those hosting sports events.
An Israeli sportsman was barred entry to a badminton competition hosted by Indonesia in August, and was granted access to the Muslim country only after a long battle.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) was forced to intervene to ensure that the Israeli athlete could secure a visa.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff
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