KUCHING: The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has stripped Malaysia of the right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships, which was scheduled to be held here from July 29 to Aug 4.
The committee announced the decision today after the IPC Governing Board meeting in London after Sarawak announced that it would follow national policy by banning Israeli athletes from entering the state and participating in the championships.
“All World Championships must be open to all eligible athletes and nations to compete safely and free from discrimination. 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,” IPC president Andrew Parsons said in a statement.
“In September 2017 when the IPC signed the contract with the Paralympic Council of Malaysia (NPC Malaysia) to host the World Para Swimming Championships, we had 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. Politics and sport are never a good mix and we are disappointed that Israeli athletes would not have been allowed to compete in Malaysia,” he elaborated.
A new venue and host for the World Championships, which act as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, is currently being decided upon by the IPC for the same dates.
Some 600 swimmers from 60 nations were expected to compete here in Kuching before the announcement.