Even kids know that mixing politics with sports is not the done thing. But obviously there was nobody to tell this to the UAE snooker team.
The Emirati national team etched their name in sport’s Hall of Shame by withdrawing mid-match from their encounter against Qatar in the Asian Cup being played in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
There was no indication of things to come on Friday when Qatar’s Mohsen Bokshaisha took on the UAE’s Mohamed al-Shamsi in the prestigious event.
But as the match progressed and Qatar’s Bokshaisha took a commanding five-frame lead, Mohamed al-Shamsi fled the scene.
According to sources there was a message from the “higher ups” in the UAE ordering the player to pull out. It’s obvious that the ignominy of certain defeat was simply too much to stomach for the Emiratis.
Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation President Mohamed al-Ramzani was diplomatic and kind towards the UAE team, only saying what happened was “regretful and that “we didn’t want such unreasonable reactions in this way.”
“We have been treating the UAE players in the spirit of one family,” he said, adding, “tolerance should prevail and sports should stay away from politics.”
The Olympic Charter prohibits the dragging of politics into sport but the example set by the UAE would go down as a sorry chapter in history.
© Gulf Times Newspaper 2019