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April 17, 2023 9:32 am

Indonesian Politician Says He Supports World Beach Games Despite Israeli Participation After Banning Israel From Island


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Bali Governor Wayan Koster (left) with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi and Indonesian Home Minister Tito Karnavian in 2022. Photo: Fikri Yusuf/G20 Media Center/Handout via REUTERS

After originally banning Israeli athletes from competing in Bali, Indonesia, the island’s governor has now expressed support for the 2023 ANOC World Beach Games, which Israel has been invited to participate in, that will be held on the island in August.

Governor Wayan Koster made the announcement after meeting with Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sports Dito Ariotedjo and the chairman of the Indonesian Olympics Committee (KOI) Raja Sapta Oktohari on April 14.

“We talked about how these World Beach Games will run smoothly in line with the Constitution … because there is already an agreement that Bali will be the host,” said Koster.

Indonesia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

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A week earlier, Koster said he would refuse to allow Israeli athletes from entering the island for the 2023 World Beach Games, the third largest multi-sport event in the world that will take place from Aug. 5-12. He also announced in March that he would ban an Israeli soccer team from competing in Bali in the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup. As a result, FIFA stripped Indonesia of hosting the competition, also after protests took place in the country’s capital against Israel’s participation in the World Cup.

Oktohari said Bali is ready to welcome all athletes to the World Beach Games and that Israel’s participation in the competition has not been confirmed yet. “In late April, we will hold a meeting and from there we will see which countries have qualified for the games,” he  said.

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