World Squash Event Cancelled after Host Banned "Israel"
The World Squash Federation announces that the World Team Championship that was set to take place in Malaysia is canceled after the latter refused to issue visas for Israeli athletes.
A major squash tournament in Malaysia has been canceled, the sport's governing body said after Malaysia sparked the Israeli occupation's anger by refusing to grant visas for the Israeli players.
The World Team Championship for men had been due to take place in Kuala Lumpur on December 7-12 with 26 squads participating, but the World Squash Federation (WSF) and Malaysia's squash body said it had been axed because the Southeastern Asian nation refused to issue visas for the Israelis.
WSF President Zena Wooldridge said sports officials had sought to "influence the highest authorities of Malaysia to ensure the ability of all participating teams, including "Israel", to enter Malaysia and compete."
For its part, the Israeli Squash Association threatened to turn to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland if the WSF could not convince Malaysia to retract its decision.
The WSF said the decision to cancel the event was also influenced by the new Omicron coronavirus variant, which it fears could affect travel to Malaysia.
The tournament was earlier this year moved to Malaysia from New Zealand because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
Malaysia stands with Palestine
Malaysia does not have diplomatic relations with the Israeli occupation.
In 2019, it was stripped of the right to host the World Para Swimming Championships for threatening to refuse Israeli athletes.
Similarly, it refused in 2015 to issue visas for Israeli windsurfers to participate in a championship on Langkawi Island.
Entry into the country on an Israeli passport is forbidden, as the Palestinian cause enjoys widespread support in Malaysia.
The country's Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah last month confirmed that his country will not join "the train of normalization with the Zionist entity."
On its part, Hamas, through its Spokesperson Abdul Latif Al-Qanoua, expressed the Islamic Movement's appreciation for Malaysia's decision.
"Malaysia's refusal reflects the genuine stance against all forms of normalizing ties with the Israeli occupation and supports the Palestinian people and strengthens their steadfastness in the face of the occupation," Al-Qanoua affirmed.
He also called on all countries to boycott and oppose normalization with the Israeli occupation.