Saifuddin Abdullah says Malaysia will not allow Israeli athletes to enter the country for any event ©Getty Images

Malaysia has extended a ban on Israeli athletes taking part at this year’s World Para Swimming Championships in Sarawak to include all other sporting events.

The Southeast Asian nation initially said they would bar Israeli’s from participating in the upcoming World Para Swimming Championships in July.

But the Government has now chosen to extend the ban across all events amid ongoing tension over the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Malaysia, a strongly Muslim country, does not have diplomatic relations with Israel and has long supported a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Thousands took to the streets in the country last December to protest the United States’ decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Even if we have already committed to hosting an event, they [Israelis] will not be allowed [into Malaysia],” Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah has been quoted as saying.

He added that Malaysia will not attempt to host any event in future "that has representation form or participation of Israel".

The World Para Swimming Championships is due to go ahead from July 29 to August 4 in the state of Sarawak.

Swimmers from around 70 countries are expected to take part in what will be a significant event in the build up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has responded by calling the move “shameful”, saying it “totally opposes” the Olympic spirit and labelling Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad anti-semetic.

“Israel condemns this decision, inspired no doubt, by Malaysia’s PM Mahathir’s rabid anti-semitism,” they said.

“We call upon the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to change this wrong decision or change the venue of the event.”

The International Paralympic Committee led by Andrew Parsons said they will discuss the matter at a meeting in London next week ©Getty Images
The International Paralympic Committee led by Andrew Parsons said they will discuss the matter at a meeting in London next week ©Getty Images

In a statement, the IPC said they are “bitterly disappointed” by Malaysia’s stance.

“Whilst we continue dialogue with the Local Organising Committee and the National Paralympic Committee, the IPC Governing Board will be discussing this matter at its meeting in London next week,” they said.

“World Championships should be open to all eligible nations and athletes.

“We will explore all options open to us to try and ensure the full participation of all eligible athletes.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) echoed that stance in a statement sent to insidethegames.

"The IOC has made its position clear during the last Olympic Summit held in Lausanne in December 2018,” they said.

"The Summit agreed that the allocation of international sports events to a country must include the necessary guarantees to ensure equal treatment for the participating athletes and sporting delegations, without any form of discrimination or political interference from the host country.”

This is not the first time athletes from Israel have been barred from competition, or faced difficulty competing, due to political disputes.

Two windsurfers were forced to withdraw from the 2016 Youth World Sailing Championship in Malaysia after being refused entry.

It was also claimed they had been told they could not compete under their country's flag and would not be able to display any Israeli symbol or logo on their boards or clothes.

Outside of Malaysia, at the 2017 World Judo Championships in the United Arab Emirates, organisers refused to fly the Israeli flag or play their national anthem when Israeli judoka Tal Flicker won gold in the under 66 kilograms division.

Back in 2009, tennis player Shahar Peer was denied a visa to enter the UAE, meaning she could not play in the Dubai Tennis Championships.

A similar case involving Kosovo arose at last year's Karate World Championships.

Athletes from the Balkan nation were denied the chance to compete under their own flag at the event in Madrid as the Spanish Government does not recognise Kosovo.