Malaysia Blocks Swimmers

A traditional roofed wooden sampan, the main water transport in Kuching, Malaysia.

Malaysia has denied Israel’s Paralympics swimming team from entering the country to partake in the World Para Swimming Championships in July.

The event, to be held in the Malaysian city of Kuching, is crucial as the outcome will affect the competition of the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, which will host more than 600 swimmers from 70 nations.

Israel and Malaysia currently have no diplomatic relations. The latter’s leader, Mahathir Mohamad labeled Jews as “hook-nosed” last October and condemned Israel for creating chaos in the Middle East.

“For some time now, we have been trying to guarantee our participation in the world championships,” Israeli Olympic Committee chairman Nisim Sasportas told Ynet.

“In principle, everyone says that it will work out, but we have still not received an invitation or visas. We are continuing to apply pressure,” he continued. “We have letters of support from the International Paralympics Committee, the European Paralympics Committee and the Olympic Athletes Committee, and hope that they allow the athletes and their security entourage to participate.”

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