KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 — Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today Malaysia accepts the withdrawal of two Israeli athletes from the Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, two days before kick-off.
He indicated that there wasn’t much that could be done to help the Israelis who held Malaysia accountable for their absence at the world windsurfing tournament, as Putrajaya has to abide by its diplomatic policy.
“We accept the decision by the Israeli Youth Team to withdraw from participating in ISAF YWC 2015. As this is a diplomatic issue, we are guided by the existing policy of the Malaysian Government,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted for response.
Malaysia does not have any diplomatic ties with Israel.
The chairman of the Israel Sailing Association Gili Amirl said Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan won’t be taking part in the international surfing competition here Sunday as both athletes have yet to receive their visas 24 hours before their scheduled departure, The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday.
Gill also accused Malaysia of putting “unacceptable” demands on Israel by forbidding their athletes from carrying their country’s flag or wearing any symbol on their attire and surfboards to show their country of origin.
Israel’s national anthem will also not be played if either athletes win the gold medal, as is customary in sporting competitions, he claimed.
Amir also said his country may file a lawsuit against Malaysia and the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) for not allowing its athletes to participate.
Khairy however did not comment on the lawsuit threat.
Omer previously won the gold for the boys Under-19 category and Drihan won the Under-17 and Under-19 events in the championships held in Gdynia, Poland last year.
According to the official website, the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship has been a yearly championship for surfers since 1971.
The competition is open to those aged 19 and under from around the world. The 45th edition is to be held in Langkawi from December 27 to January 3, 2016.