TOKYO: Malaysia has been stripped of the hosting rights for the World Para Swimming Championships after refusing to let Israelis compete in the event that serves as a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
The Malaysian government said earlier this month that no Israeli delegates can enter Malaysia for sporting or other events in solidarity with the Palestinians. Malaysia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
The swimming championships were due to be staged from July 29 to August 4 in Kuching.
The International Paralympic Committee on Sunday said its governing board meeting in London decided to take the event from Malaysia after it “failed to provide the necessary guarantees that Israeli Para swimmers could participate, free from discrimination, and safely in the championships. This includes full compliance with the IPC protocols related to anthems and flags, and where required the provision of relevant visas”.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon responded to the decision on Twitter: “This is a victory of values over hatred and bigotry, a strong statement in favor of freedom and equality. Thank you @Paralympics for your brave decision !!!”
With the IPC looking for a new host, the deadline for expressions of interest is February 11.