(January 29, 2019 / JNS) Four-time Polish Olympic swimmer Bart Kizierowski has rejected an offer to coach Malaysia’s national swimming team, saying that he would not train the Malaysians after they refused to admit Israeli athletes into the country.
Over the weekend, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) stripped Malaysia of its right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships after the country announced that it would not allow Israelis to compete.
“I was offered a very attractive coaching position from the Malaysian Swimming Federation,” Kizierowski wrote on Twitter. “Among other personal reasons, I declined that function due to recent statements made by Malaysian politicians regarding refusal of visa for athletes that are supposed to compete at the world championships organized by that country. There is no place for that in sport.”
“Politics and sport are never a good mix,” said IPC President Andrew Parsons after the body governing board decided to disqualify Malaysia from hosting the event. “We are disappointed that Israeli athletes would not have been allowed to compete in Malaysia.”
“All World Championships must be open to all eligible athletes and nations to compete safely and free from discrimination,” said Parsons. “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.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad responded Monday that “Israel is a criminal state and deserves to be condemned.”
“We maintain we have a right to bar Israelis from our country,” he said. “When the world condemns us for this, we have a right to say that the world is being hypocritical.”