Malaysian Government Blocking Israeli Para-Swimmer Visas for Worlds

Israeli para-swimmers are being denied visas to enter the country for the 2019 World Para Swimming World Championships in Malaysia due to a lack of diplomatic relations between the Jewish and Muslim nations, Israeli news outlet YNet News reported Sunday.

From July 29th to August 4th, 2019, the Malaysian city of Kuching is set to host hundreds of swimmers from 70 countries for the meet, which is one of the possible qualifying opportunities for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. To be eligible for Tokyo, para-swimmers are supposed to have competed at either a WPS World Series event, Worlds, any WPS Regional or Regional Open Championships, or the 2019 Parapan American Games in the timeframe of October 1, 2018 through the 2020 WPS European Open Championships (the dates of which have yet to be announced).

“For some time now we have been trying to guarantee our participation in the world championships. In principle, everyone says that it will work out, but we have still not received an invitation or visas,” Nisim Sasportas, chairman of the Israeli Olympic Committee, told YNet. “We are continuing to apply pressure. 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.”

According to YNet, officials with the Israel Paralympics Committee have tried to involve the country’s Ministry of Sport and Culture, as well as Israeli member of the International Olympic Committee Alex Gilady, but efforts have gone unanswered thus far.

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Move the meet if they don’t get the Visas done


So is it OK to discriminate against Jewish/Israel athletes but not against Islamic interests in the world … Malaysia should be stripped of the meet ..


I took some time to try to understand in Wikipedia what is happening.

Don’t you guys get it? It is never about prejudice and discrimination. It is about fighting for the justice of the oppressed. When you see civilians, your families and children being systematically gunned down by military troops, perhaps you will say something different.


Not the first time something like this has happened to Israeli athletes travelling or competing in Islamic nations. I understand the sensitivities, but Federations should really start ensuring these things wont occur before awarding events to hosts. You have no place hosting a global sporting event if you want to ban athletes from a particular nation. Hate to think about what will happen if Israel qualify for the 2022 World Cup…


No danger of that happening since Israeli football team is terrible. Also, US wasn’t very forthcoming in issuing visa for Russian wrestling team to the World Cup event last year, should US be stripped of the event as well?


I am not an American, and certainly not a fan of US foreign policy, but this is how I see the situation; Malaysia, like most Islamic nations, make no attempt to deny the fact that the won’t grant Israelis VISAs for purely political reasons. It’s cited in Malaysian news as well as Israeli that diplomatic relations between the two nations is the reason – Malaysia actually do not recognise Israeli passports at all – No Israeli can fly into Malaysia. As for the US situation; If it was established that the USA govt acted on political will to ‘ban’ Russian athletes? Yes, they should absolutely be stripped. However, there is a reason (as you know) the Russian wrestlers had VISA… Read more »

True. I flew into the US with a Russian just 2 weeks ago.

I think at the end of the day the IPC will intervene and the meet will be moved or the visas will be granted. There’s no way that the IPC, after taking a very strong stand against Russia re: anti-doping, will just let this slide.


Hmmm, your writings seem in line with US foreign policy.


Re the world wrestling championships: Apparently the visa applications from the Russians were submitted very late and interviews had to be made within 72 hours, which was unrealistic in the the best case scenario, even if the US Embassy had not been short-staffed.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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