The sport-governing body gave special honor to the representative from “Palestine,” inviting him to recite the ethical declaration at the opening event.
By Tsivya Fox-Dobuler
The International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA) competition recognized “Palestine” as a country and invited their coach to read an ethical declaration at the opening ceremony on July 21, reported Arutz7.
The live-streamed ceremony included a flag parade of the 102 participating countries. This was the first time that the Palestinian Authority has sent a team to compete in the tournament.
As each country was alphabetically mentioned during the flag ceremony, “Palestine” was included.
Then, IFMA Master of Ceremonies announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to invite representatives from athletes, coaches, and referees to give their oaths. Firstly, we would like to welcome the representative on behalf of the athletes participating in this championship.”
After introducing the Thai representative, the emcee said, “And also, reading the oaths, on behalf of the team officials of participating countries, please welcome Ahmad Abu Dukan from Palestine.”
“In the name of all coaches, I promise that we will strictly follow the IFMA code of ethics, good governance, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them in the true spread of sportsmanship and fair play,” Dukan said as he read the prepared statement. “We lead by example to our athletes and uphold the fundamental principles of IFMA, being honor, tradition, respect, excellence, and fair play.”
Chaninat Hashem Gordon, mother of Israeli competitor Kibedy Gordon, said that it was “very strange” to give the Palestinians so much honor and that a Palestinian delegation was sent at all.
“IFMA gave a lot of attention to ‘Palestine’ even before the opening ceremony,” Gordon told United With Israel. “Videos have come out that focus on the Palestinians, like an interview with the coach, showing their medical checks and the camera always being on them.
“They do not have any status,” she continued. “They are not famous at all. This is the first time that they are competing in this adult competition, and they have no medals. Why were they asked to read the ethical declaration, and how were they allowed to fly their flag?”
‘Beneath Our Dignity’ to Compete with Israelis
In 2017, Palestinian Muaythai boxer Sultan Abu Al-Haj refused to fight Israeli Druze Muaythai boxer Amit Madah in the under-54-kg division at the Youth Muaythai World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand.
In an interview on Official PA TV, Sultan was asked why he gave up the opportunity to win a medal.
“I didn’t make the decision,” he answered. “My trainers and the [Palestinian] Olympic Committee made the decision, and as a competitor I cannot oppose them… The decision was reached that it is forbidden to compete with [Israelis], because it’s beneath our dignity to compete with them and recognize them as (sic) the State of Israel.”
Gordon told United With Israel that there are four judges for each competition, which involve the using of fists, elbows, knees and shins, along with various clinching techniques. She said that the Israelis see that any time there is a close call, the opponent is awarded the point.
“On Monday, Kibedy lost a fight in a tough competition with a Ukrainian by one point,” she said. “One of the judges was from Iraq. Everyone saw how the Israelis never received a point in a close call.”
Call to Israeli Officials
Gordon said that she hopes that Israel’s government ministers will do something about the recognition of “Palestine” at the recent competition.
“Israel must prevent this from happening at the Olympics and other world games,” she said. “These are very esteemed competitions. What will be if they recognize ‘Palestine’ at those games? It has to be stopped before it happens.
“When these recognitions go so far, it is hard to stop it in other international competitions.”
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