Details Revealed on Israel Situation at Youth Sailing Worlds

Published on December 31st, 2015

Following the announcement by the Israel Sailing Association on December 23 that they would not be sending a team to the Youth Sailing World Championship in Malaysia on December 29-January 3, the news rekindled regrettable moments in history when politics and sport collided.

The Israeli team was small but powerful, with their two sailors – 2015 RS:X Youth World Champions Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan – capable of finishing on the podium in the boys and girls RS:X fleets. But with Visas delayed, and organizers not allowing them to compete under the Israeli flag or play the national anthem if they won a medal, the nation announced they would not attend.

This statement by World Sailing came on December 31, 2015:
The World Sailing executive has now received the interim report on the situation concerning the participation and conditions placed on Israeli sailors for the Youth Sailing World Championships in Malaysia.

World Sailing has demanded an immediate full explanation from both the Malaysian and Israeli Sailing Organizations (Member National Authorities) on this issue.

World Sailing stands by its commitment to both the Olympic ideals and ensuring that competitions taking place under the auspices of World Sailing permit all sailors to represent their country and to compete fully and equally.

World Sailing has always taken this issue very seriously and undertakes to clarify and strengthen this requirement of all future World Sailing event organizers, if required, once the full report is concluded.

With regards to the current situation with Israel and Malaysia, World Sailing, whilst adamant that the situation is not acceptable under the above principles, acknowledges that delays in communication by both Israeli and Malaysian officials in the lead up to the regatta have contributed to the situation spiraling into the current controversy.

This is something that could have been prevented and will be actively managed in the future. World Sailing only learnt of Israel’s withdrawal on December 24, with immediate action taken to obtain factual information on the ground in Malaysia and to respond appropriately to this challenging situation.

These diplomatic issues are faced by all sports of this nature. World Sailing cannot solve all such problems, but as an organization it, and its members can, work towards acceptance of all nations and towards finding suitable solutions within the current political arena. As a result of this, World Sailing shall strengthen its processes to prevent discrimination within the sport.

World Sailing had the full support of the International Olympic Committee during the build up to the Youth Worlds and will continue to enlist their help and expertise in this matter.

Further information on the report and the proposed actions will be provided after the emergency Executive Committee meeting on the January 8.

Editor’s note: Additional comments on the issue can be found here.

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