Putrajaya, Malaysia, MINA – The Malaysian government has reaffirmed its stance to ban Israeli athletes from taking part in the 2019 World Para Swimming Championship in Kuching, Sarawak, which will take place from July 29 to August 4.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that if the Israeli contingent remained challenging and still wanted to take part in the championship, it would be wrong.
“We will not allow them (Israeli athletes), If they come, it is a violation. If they want to withdraw the right to organize the championship from Malaysia, they can try to do it,” Mahatir said at a media briefing in Putrajaya, Malaysia, the New Straits Times reports.
According to him, Malaysia has consistently banned Israeli athletes from participating in the championship which has resulted in objections from the Israeli Olympic Committee (IOC), so it continues to press for their athletes to be granted visas to compete.
The swimming championship in Kuching will be very important for qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Related to this, the Malaysian Paralympic Council as the organizer of the championship, admitted having faced a difficult situation after a ban on Israeli athletes.
Earlier, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Steven Sim Chee Keong said that Malaysia would not allow Israeli athletes to enter the country to take part in the championship.
According to him, this is because Malaysia has a very clear foreign policy which is supporting Palestine.
“Therefore, the government will maintain its stance on this issue to protest the suppression toward Palestinian people,” he said. (T/Ast/P2)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)