Israeli windsurfer Ma’ayan Davidovich at Oman Worlds competing flag-less.
(photo credit: ISRAELI SAILING ASSOCIATION/COURTESY)
Israeli windsurfer Ma’ayan Davidovich is competing at the world championships in Oman after all, but is not doing so under the Israel flag after entering the Muslim Sultanate with her Austrian passport.
The Israel Sailing Association (ISA ) announced last Thursday that it will not send a delegation to Oman. Due to the security concerns raised by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), which is responsible for the safety of Israeli national teams when competing abroad, the ISA notified the organizers two weeks ago that it will not take part in the championships, resulting in the cancellation of the visas originally issued by Oman in July.
The ISA backtracked a day later and decided to send its three most senior surfers, Ma’ayan Davidovich, Shahar Zubari and Nimrod Mashiah.
However, the organizers insisted they were unable to issue new visas so quickly and it seemed the three would have to watch the championships from afar.
However, Davidovich, who claimed bronze medals in the past two world championships, received permission from the International Sailing Federation (ISA F) to compete in Oman, although it refused to allow her to do so under the Israel flag as she entered the country with a different passport.
Davidovich, 27, who is sailing with ISA F on her sail rather than ISR, is in ninth place after the first day of competition, ending the first three races in 10th, 11th and 10th.
Mashiah could have also competed in Oman under his Dutch passport, but the ISA decided that would be unfair due to his ongoing battle with countryman Shahar Zubari for Israel’s lone berth in the men’s competition at the Rio Olympics. Zubari doesn’t hold a foreign passport.
Next year’s windsurfing world championships will be held in Eilat in February.