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April 21, 2023 10:47 am

Bali Governor Reiterates Ban of Israeli Athletes From 2023 World Beach Games


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Bali Governor Wayan Koster. Photo: YouTube screenshot

The Governor of Bali Wayan Koster will not allow Israeli athletes on the Indonesian island to compete in the 2023 ANOC World Beach Games, clarifying an earlier statement he made about the international multi-sport event that will be held Aug. 5-12 on the island.

Koster originally said in a released statement last week that he supports the World Beach Games following a meeting with Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sports Dito Ariotedjo and Indonesian Olympics Committee (KOI) chairman Raja Sapta Oktohari. In that statement he said the World Beach Games “will run smoothly in line with the Constitution,” but made no mention of his stance regarding Israel’s participation.

Koster recently also refused to allow Israeli athletes to enter Bali for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup set to start in May. His actions, along with protests took place in the country’s capital against Israel’s involvement in the World Cup, resulted in FIFA stripping Indonesia as the host of the soccer competition. Hosting rights were instead given to Argentina.

Indonesia has no diplomatic relations with Israel, refuses to recognize the Jewish state and is a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause.

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On Saturday, Koster added to his earlier statement about the upcoming World Beach Games, which is organized by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC). He said that he will once again refuse to allow athletes from Israel on his island, according to the Asia News Network.

“I remain consistent in refusing the Israeli team’s participation in the 2023 World Beach Games in Bali,” he said in a written statement cited by the news outlet. He also denied a remark Ariotedjo said earlier about Bali being fully committed and giving “1,000 percent of their support” to the World Beach Games. “I emphasize that this news is not true,” Koster said on Saturday, adding that he must keep in line with Indonesia’s Constitution, which “means that the 2023 World Beach Games in Bali should be held without the Israeli team.”

ANOC told the website Inside The Games that it is “in close dialogue with the Indonesian authorities and Indonesian Olympic Committee to ensure all qualified NOCs [National Olympic Committees] are welcome in Bali for the ANOC World Beach Games 2023.”

The World Beach Games features competitions in beach and water sports including beach handball, beach soccer, beach tennis, beach volleyball, beach waterpolo, beach wrestling, individual kata, open water swimming, basketball, air badminton, surfing, beach sprint rowing, wingfoil racing and an aquathlon.

Bali is also set to host the ANOC General Assembly from Aug. 13-15.

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