Israeli windsurfers take part in Oman Championships despite security concerns
Israeli Windsurfers Show Up at Oman Championships, After All
Despite being told not to do so by the Foreign Ministry, the members of Israel's championship windsurfing team are apparently in Oman, where the International Windsurfing Championships are being held.
According to results published from Monday's competition, the team, led by champion windsurfer Maayan Davidovich, came in tenth twice and eleventh in three matches. Overall the team is ranked ninth in the competition so far.
Davidovich and her team are not competing under the Israeli flag, but under the banner of the International Windsurfing Federation.
Unable to enter Oman on her Israeli passport, she entered the country on an Austrian passport, Israeli officials said. Three other members of the team also entered the country on foreign passports.
Israel last week withdrew from the championships after the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) failed to come to an agreement with Oman authorities on providing security for the Israeli team.
In a statement, the Shin Bet said that it had invested great effort in trying to coordinate appropriate security arrangements" but "as these efforts did not succeed... the Shin Bet was compelled to invoke the authority accorded it by the government of Israel and bar the delegation from departing to its destination."
There had been great disappointment in professional athletic circles over the cancellation.
Gili Amir, the chair of the Israeli Sailing Association said that it was "unthinkable that our top athletes, who will potentially represent Israel in the Olympic Games in Rio and are some of the world's best, will be absent from the world championships and won't participate in the most important competition of the year. The Israelis' non-participation severely harms the sport in my mind, and could set precedents."
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