Olympic coach stands up for Israeli swimmers banned from Malaysia

Award-winning Polish swim coach Bart Kizierowski vows not to train Malaysian athletes if Israelis are banned from their country.

Israel swimming team (photo credit: Israel Swimming Association))
Israel swimming team
(photo credit: Israel Swimming Association))
An Olympic swimmer from Poland said he turned down an offer to coach Malaysia’s national swimming team in part because of the country’s ban on Israeli athletes.

Malaysia had been scheduled to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in July, but was stripped of the meet by the International Paralympic Committee for refusing to allow Israelis to compete.

Bart Kizierowski wrote on Facebook last week that he had declined an invitation from the Malaysia Swimming Federation “due to recent statements made by Malaysian politicians regarding [the] refusal of visas for athletes who were supposed to compete in the World Championship,” among other reasons.

He also thanked the swimming community in Malaysia for the offer, the local English-language newspaper The Star reported. The post has since been removed.

He reportedly received hundreds of comments ranging from anti-Israel to anti-Semitic. More of the comments appear on unrelated posts on his Instagram account.

Kizierowski represented Poland at four Olympic Games in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. He won a bronze medals for Poland in two World Championships. He currently is coaching swimming in Spain.

Malaysia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. Entry to Malaysia on an Israeli passport is prohibited.