Windsurfer Noy Drihan.
(photo credit: AMIT SHISEL/ISA)
Oman has withdrawn from hosting the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships which were due to take place in December after refusing to submit written confirmation that it is able to guarantee full and equal participation by all, in accordance with World Sailing's Regulations.
Israel's Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan did not have an opportunity to defend their titles at the youth windsurfing World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia, late last year, with World Sailing blaming Malaysian authorities of forcing Israel's windsurfers to withdraw from the event. The governing body added that sanctions would be imposed in the future event of a breach of the "no discrimination" regulations at a regatta.
World Sailing then demanded written confirmation from all venues that have already been selected and confirmed for forthcoming World Sailing championships to guarantee they can meet the updated regulations, resulting in Oman's withdrawal.
"The Oman Sailing Committee was able to exercise the right to withdraw, as a final contract for the hosting of the event had not been concluded," read a World Sailing statement. "World Sailing will now immediately start to work with its Member National Authorities to rapidly identify an alternative venue for the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships at the same time of year as the event originally planned for Oman." World Sailing wrote in its statement in January that "all World Sailing championships involve an element of country representation, and at all these regattas, flags shall be displayed and winners' anthems played. They shall be displayed and played equally for all competitors." The Israel Sailing Association (ISA) welcomed Monday's developments with satisfaction after initially being concerned that its representatives would be barred from future competitions in Arab countries despite World Sailing's announcements.
"This is a great victory for normality and for the real sporting values over politics," said ISA chairman Gili Amir. "This announcement shows that World Sailing chiefs understood the injustice suffered by the Israeli athletes and they showed that they will not accept discrimination between countries."