As the Israeli national swimming team arrived to take part in the 10th FINA World Short Course Swimming Championship this week, the Israeli flag was flown for the first time in Dubai at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex, where the competition is being held. This is the first time that the competition has been hosted in an Arab city.
Named after the Crown Prince of Dubai, the complex was completed and inaugurated just in time for the competition to be held there. The Israeli group for the tournament consists of five of the country’s best aquatic athletes, which include 200 metre freestyle stylist Gal Nevo, and Guy Marcos Barnea, who will compete in the 100 metre backstroke competition.
Nevo spoke to a report from the Associated Press, and stressed he appreciated what it meant for an Israeli athlete to compete in this event in particular.
I feel lucky as an athlete being here,’ he said. “Because the average Israeli guy probably wouldn’t visit here.
During the team’s time in Dubai they will be escorted by a highly specialist security detail. The team encountered some problems enter the UAE, due to visa complications, despite the government’s assurances that they would be guaranteed visas on arrival.
Further complications were experienced for the Israeli television crew covering the team’s progress, meaning that the team and crew eventually only had one day in which to prepare for the competition.