London, MINA – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Sunday stripped Malaysia from the right to host the 2019 World Championships, which were held in Kuching between 29 July and 4 August.
The decision was made by the IPC Governing Board at its meeting in London, after the Home Ministry of Malaysia had provided the necessary swimmers who could participate, free from discrimination, and safety in the Championships. This includes full compliance with the IPC protocol related to anthems and flags, and where the provision of relevant visas are required.
“All World Championships must be open to all eligible athletes and compete for safety and free from discrimination. When a host country excludes athletes from a particular nation, for political reasons, we have absolutely no alternative but to look for a new Championships host,” Andrew Parsons, IPC President said in a statement.
Andrew stressed, 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 to face a similar situation involving different countries.
“In September 2017 when the IPC signed a contract with the Paralympic Council of Malaysia (Malaysian NPC) to host the World Swimming Championships, we had assurances that all eligible athletes and countries would be allowed to participate in the event with their safety assured,” he said.
However, according him, 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 IPC disappointed that Israeli athletes will 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 Champions as not to upset the training of the athletes who aim to peak for the end of July and early August. However, we need to be flexible in this area of bearing in mind the circumstances we face,” he added.
The IPC Encourages all potential hosts for the 2019 World Para in the Championships to express interest in the event by 11 February 2019.
While Chelsey Gotell, Chairperson of the IPC Athletes Council said, the IPC Athletes’ Council has received a great deal of correspondence from athletes around the world on this situation.
“We have discussed all potential outcomes and are engaged in the World Swimming Athlete Advisory Group to gather their feedback on the athlete’s voice is well reflected in the IPC Governing Board discussion and decision,” Gotell said.
He said, sports and politics separate, but it also reinforces the IPC’s commitment to our fundamental moral and ethical principles that are inclusive of all eligible athletes and sanctionsed events.
Before Malaysia’s right to host the World Swimming Championships was strip, around 600 swimmers from 60 countries were expected to take part in Kuching, Malaysia with more than 160 world titles contested.(r/Ais/p2)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)