Israeli windsurfer competes incognito in Oman

Israeli windsurfer competes incognito in Oman

Maayan Davidovich entered Arabian country on her Austrian passport, carries no national flag on her board

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israeli windsurfer Maayan Davidovich. (YouTube/sivan davidovich)
Israeli windsurfer Maayan Davidovich. (YouTube/sivan davidovich)

An Israeli windsurfer began competing in the world championships on Monday despite the contest being held in the Sultanate of Oman — but has been forced to remove the national flag from the sail of her surfboard.

By taking to the waters in the Persian Gulf, Maayan Davidovich, 27, who has won two bronze medals at previous world championship contests, became the first Israeli athlete to compete in Oman.

Her windsurfing board sail carries the flag of the International Sailing Federation. On the contest’s official website her nationality displays the letters RSX, the class of watercraft with which she competes.

Davidovich was granted entry to the sultanate as an Austrian passport holder and is accompanied by a personal bodyguard, Ynetnews reported.

By the end of the second day of competition she was in 14th place.

“I came here because I think it is important to separate between politics and sport,” she told the Hebrew daily Israel Hayom; she said the contest was too important to not attend.

“In the end I took the right decision,” she said. “I am treated here just like every other surfer.”

Earlier this month the Culture and Sport Ministry decided to drop efforts to send a team to the championship after the Shin Bet security service banned them from going for security reasons, Ynetnews reported. Officials had succeeded in obtaining visas and permits for team members to travel.

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