KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 — Two Israeli champion windsurfers have pulled out of defending their titles ahead of Sunday’s Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, Kedah, citing delays in their visa applications and the “unacceptable” demands Putrajaya purportedly placed on them.
Chairman of the Israel Sailing Association Gili Amir said Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan won’t be taking part in the international surfing competition here as both athletes have yet to receive their visas, The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday.
“The Malaysians’ demands are unacceptable, and as we haven’t received the visas, we decided not to participate. We condemn the unsporting conduct of the organising committee,” Amir was quoted saying by the Israeli news portal.
Among the alleged restrictions placed on the Israeli athletes were a prohibition on flying their flag or 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.
Amir reportedly said his country may file a lawsuit against Malaysia and the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) for not allowing its athletes to participate.
“We will not agree to be humiliated and we are considering filing a lawsuit against the ISAF and the host country in coordination with the Olympic Committee of Israel.”
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.