Oman Refuses to Host Sailing Championships Because of Israeli Participation

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TEL AVIV – Oman announced that it will not host the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships because of Israeli participation.

World Sailing updated its regulations following Malaysia’s refusal to allow reigning Israeli champions to play their national anthem and display the Israeli flag at last year’s youth windsurfing championships. It was announced that sanctions would be imposed on host countries that discriminate against participants.

The organization condemned Malaysian authorities for forcing Israeli windsurfers Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan into withdrawing from the World Championships in Langkawi.

As a result, World Sailing demanded that all future host countries must submit written confirmation that they will meet a series of updated regulations, including allowing the flags and anthems of all participating countries. Oman’s refusal to do so resulted in the country’s withdrawal from hosting the December 2016 regatta.

“The Oman Sailing Committee was able to exercise the right to withdraw, as a final contract for the hosting of the event had not been concluded,” a statement by World Sailing said.

“World Sailing will now immediately start to work with its Member National Authorities to rapidly identify an alternative venue for the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships at the same time of year as the event originally planned for Oman.”

In January, World Sailing outlined the regulations with the stipulation that “all World Sailing championships involve an element of country representation, and at all these regattas, flags shall be displayed and winners’ anthems played. They shall be displayed and played equally for all competitors.”

The Israel Sailing Association (ISA) welcomed Monday’s developments.

“This is a great victory for normality and for the real sporting values over politics,” said ISA chairman Gili Amir.

“This announcement shows that World Sailing chiefs understood the injustice suffered by the Israeli athletes and they showed that they will not accept discrimination between countries.”


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