(photo credit: ISRAEL TAEKWONDO FEDERATION)
The Israel Taekwondo Federation has called for immediate action to be taken against the organizers of the ongoing world junior championships in Tunisia after not being allowed to send a delegation to the event.
The championships, which also serve as the sole qualification event for the upcoming Youth Olympic Games to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in October, got under way last Friday and will run for a week.
Israel’s representatives were initially told they would be able to compete as long as they did so without any symbol of their country.
However, the Israel Taekwondo Federation was later notified by the Tunisian authorities that it would not be able to send four athletes as planned, claiming that they submitted the entry forms too late.
The CEO of the Israeli Taekwondo Federation Michel Madar, who is a council members of the World Taekwondo Federation, 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, he wasn’t allowed to enter the country and was sent back to Paris.
A court in Tunis ruled last week that the Israelis would be banned from competing after a group of activists opposed to normalization with Israel filed an urgent lawsuit.
According to the Associated Press, “the plaintiffs argued in their lawsuit that the athletes’ presence would clash with constitutional provisions and agreements signed by the Tunisian government. They argue that Tunisia has committed ‘to denouncing and refusing Zionist occupation and colonization, as well as boycotting and not dealing with the Zionist entity… in any way.’”
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