Malaysia has been stripped of the right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships for threatening to refuse to allow Israeli athletes to take part, the International Paralympic Committee said on Sunday. The decision was taken “after the Home Ministry of Malaysia failed to provide the necessary guarantees that Israeli Para swimmers could participate, free from discrimination, and safely in the Championships,” the IPC said in a statement. IPC President Andrew Parsons said: “When a host country excludes athletes from a particular nation, for political reasons, then we have absolutely no alternative but to look for a new Championships host.
“All World Championships must be open to all eligible athletes and nations to compete safely and free from discrimination.” The championships, a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, were due to take place in Kuching on July 29-August 4. Parsons said that in September 2017, the IPC received assurances that all eligible athletes and countries would be allowed to participate in the event with their safety assured. “Since then, there has been a change of political leadership and the new Malaysian government has different ideas… We are disappointed that Israeli athletes would not have been allowed to compete in Malaysia,” he said.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted: “This is a victory of values over hatred and bigotry, a strong statement in favor of freedom and equality. Thank you @Paralympics for your brave decision.”