In September 2017, Malaysia was given the privilege to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships. The competition was to be held from July 29 to Aug 4 in Kuching, Sarawak later this year, making Malaysia the first Asian country to host the event.
However, due to a recent controversy that arose, Malaysia is now banned from hosting the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships.
According to The Star, the IPC governing board revoked Malaysia’s right to host the event last Sunday (Jan 27). This decision was made after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad declared that Israeli swimmers were banned from participating and entering the country.
According to IPC President, Andrew Parsons, Malaysia signed the contract in 2017 assuring that all eligible athletes and countries would be allowed to participate. He says,
“When a host country excludes athletes from a particular nation, then we have no alternative but to look for a new host.”
“The Paralympic Movement has, and always will be, motivated by a desire to drive inclusion, not exclusion. Regardless of the countries involved in this matter, the IPC would take the same decision again if it was to face a similar situation involving different countries.”
Parsons also pointed out how Malaysia has had a change of government since the signing of the contract in 2017.
“Since then, there has been a change of political leadership and the new Malaysian government has different ideas. Politics and sports are never a good mix, and we are disappointed that Israeli athletes would not have been allowed to compete in Malaysia,” he added.
Channel News Asia reported that Malaysia’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman made a statement explaining their stand on the controversy.
“If hosting an international sporting event is more important than standing up for our Palestinian brothers and sisters who get murdered, maimed and tortured by the Netanyahu regime, that means Malaysia has truly lost its moral compass.”
“Malaysia stands firm with our decision on the ground of humanity and compassion for the Palestinian plight. We will not compromise,” he said.
The IPC is currently deciding on a new country to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships. Approximately 600 swimmers from 60 nations were expected to compete in the World Championships, which will also act as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
What do you guys think about this issue? Let us know in the comments below.
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