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World Sailing to Sanction Host Nations After Malyasian Competition bans Israeli Athletes

TEL AVIV – After Israelis were barred from participating in a windsurfing competition in Malaysia, World Sailing said it will draft new guidelines that include sanctions against any host nations that don’t allow all competitors to participate equally.

Israel’s delegation of windsurfers was not able to take part in the Youth World Sailing Championship earlier this month in Langkawi, Malaysia.

Israel’s reigning champions, Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan, did not participate in the event because of demands from the Malaysian organizers and the fact that they did not receive visas.

The Israel Sailing Association (ISA) was told the surfers would not be allowed to compete under the Israeli flag, and their surfboards and clothing were forbidden from displaying any symbol identifiable with the Jewish state. They were also told that at no point could the Israeli national anthem be played.

World Sailing’s Executive Committee met last Friday to discuss what they called the “recent unacceptable events at the just concluded Youth World Sailing Championship.” They have decided to fully investigate the matter with the cooperation and support of the International Olympic Committee.

“In the future, the organizers (MNAs, regional organizations, national organizations, international classes, etc.) of all international sailing competitions will be required to comply with specific conditions to ensure that all competitors from all countries can participate equally,” a World Sailing statement read. “If these conditions are not met, specific sanctions will be applied to any future international sailing competitions held in that country.”

Following the incident, ISA Chairman Amir Gill said the group was considering a lawsuit against the organizers of the Malaysian competition .

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