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Tunisia denies Israel entry to Taekwondo championships

While the Israeli delegation agreed to Tunisian demands, including that Israel’s national anthem would not be played if any participants won the gold, the Israeli team was met with a refusal by the Tunisian authorities, who claimed that Israel had submitted entry forms too late.

Photo courtesy of the Israel Taekwondo Federation.
Photo courtesy of the Israel Taekwondo Federation.

Israel’s Taekwondo Junior National Team was essentially banned from participating in the 2018 World Junior Championships, as well as trials for the upcoming Youth Olympic Games to be held in Argentina in October, after being denied entry permits by Tunisa, the host country.

Taekwondo coaches completed advance registration for the Israeli athletes, who include Junior World Championships and European championships bronze-medal winner and Olympic hopeful Avishag Samberg, European cadet champion Tom Pashevsky and deputy European cadet champion Dana Azran.

Tunisian officials delayed in responding to the Israeli delegation for a prolonged amount of time, ultimately promising entry visas if the team would not compete wearing any Israeli insignias or symbols.

While the Israeli delegation agreed to the Tunisian demands and similarly agreed that Israel’s national anthem would not be played if any participants won the gold medal, the Israeli team was ultimately met with a refusal by the Tunisian authorities, who claimed that Israel had submitted its entry forms too late.

Chairman of the Israeli Taekwondo Federation Michel Madar, who serves on the board of World Taekwondo, arrived in Tunisia on his French passport to attend the organization’s general assembly. But when Tunisian airport officials noticed that Madar’s passport was issued in Jerusalem, police officers forcibly expelled him on a plane back to Paris.

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