Two Israeli windsurfers and their coach have been refused visas to compete at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia. In response, the World Sailing said, Sunday, that it will investigate reports asserting that all international sailors should be allowed to compete, AP said Monday.
It was added that Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, earlier, told the Malay Mail Online website that the visa decision was “guided by the existing policy of the Malaysian government” which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Jamaluddin also said, according to PNN, that the Israeli youth team had decided not to adhere to instructions, ‘so I had to act based on the policies at hand, and I don’t understand why the Malaysian government is seen in a bad light here.”
The Israel Sailing Association said that windsurfers Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan and coach Meir Yaniv would not attend the event that begins Sunday, because they had not received visas.
Amir Gill, chairman of the Israel association, also told local media that Malaysia had placed “unacceptable” demands by forbidding athletes from carrying their country’s flag or wearing any symbol on their attire and surfboards that showed their country of origin.
The youth sailing worlds have been held for 44 years. The Malaysian event, which runs to January 3, is expected to attract about 300 competitors under the age of 19.