Don’t tell David Pain about this. He’ll flash on his time fighting to get South Africans into 1975 Toronto worlds. This time, at least, a host country isn’t excluding a national contingent.
Gibraltar has one of the smallest teams at Malaga worlds, but its treatment is making the biggest stink.
The British territory’s M40 Liam Byrne (400/800), M40 Charles Savignon (10K/half-marathon), W45 Allison Edwards (10K/half-marathon), M45 Maurice Turnock (5000) and M65 Horace Bossano (10K) may not be medal favorites. But they have become pawns in some crazy Spanish politics.
Media outlets, IAAF bigwig Seb Coe and others are calling out the WMA LOC for keeping the Gibraltar Five from wearing their national uniform or competing under their flag. One account says the Five have pulled out.
The Malaga website still lists them as Gibraltar entrants.
The Gibraltar Social Democrats on Facebook posted that the party “condemns the pressure that has been brought to bear on Gibraltarian athletes at the World Masters Athletics Championships being held in Malaga, after organisers demanded they participate as ‘neutrals’ instead of representing Gibraltar. It has been reported that four of the five athletes have withdrawn from participation.”
Gibraltar Minister for Sport Steven Linares is quoted as saying: “The decision of the Spanish Government, through its Consejo General de Deportes, to prevent Gibraltarian athletes from competing in a race in Malaga in our colours is a perverse vestige of a past of which modern Spain cannot be proud. These are vetoes against our people which hark back to the time of the Spanish dictatorship, and they belong in that time. We cannot build a strong relationship with our neighbours in this way. We must see nonsense of this sort relegated to history, where it belongs. Gibraltar sportspeople can rely on the full support of their Government and of their fellow Gibraltarians.”
Here’s all I know:
The IAAF supports Gibraltar's right to have its athletes compete under its nation's flag as they are a recognised European Federation. We urge the WMA to stand strong against this political interference. https://t.co/iwThawm14V
— Seb Coe (@sebcoe) September 4, 2018
Remarkable #Gibraltar athletes have been prevented from participating in a @WMA_admin event in #Malaga. Surely this is not the modern #Spain? Something @iaaforg & @sebcoe will want to consider carefully. #SportNotPolitics Our statement by @StevenLinares4 supports our athletes! pic.twitter.com/ILuFiWITlz
— Fabian Picardo (@FabianPicardo) September 4, 2018
#WMAMálaga2018 Where Gibraltar's Athletes are prohibited from representing Gibraltar, and forbidden to wear a kit that identifies their country????@WMA_admin Unacceptable that you should allow this type of behaviour!#WMAMalaga2018 https://t.co/FuL2sM3MTi …
— Way2Win & Co (@way2winin) September 4, 2018
@WMA_admin This is the flag of Gibraltar, whose athletes have been shamefully discriminated against in Malaga. WMA Council should hang their heads in shame for allowing such bullying to prevail. Sports & politics do not mix. pic.twitter.com/PQt7AAlSh9
— Darren Olivero (@Shotline) September 4, 2018
And some M65 beefcake:
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Best story on matter, which quotes WMA Prez Stan Perkins: http://chronicle.gi/2018/09/outrage-as-spain-forbids-local-athletes-from-representing-gibraltar-in-malaga-international-event/