TEL AVIV (Feb. 19)
Chaim Glovinsky, Israel’s sports ambassador, has just returned from a whirlwind tour around the world visiting all continents in a period of 21 days in order to line up talent for the Hapoeliyada games slated for May 1-10. In addition to his quest for athletes for the games, Glovinsky has had the opportunity to straighten out a few sports matters which have burdened the Israeli government as well as the public here.
The matter of Israel’s exclusion from the world table-tennis matches in India has been heavily publicized and a story concerning the exclusion of Israel’s women’s hand-ball team from the Asian eliminations has been given a lot of attention by sports writers and political analysts. It appears, however, that the whole matter became garbled. Glovinsky, while in South Korea, learned of the difficulty involved and straightened the matter out to Israel’s satisfaction and benefit.
Originally, the story came through that Israel was slated to participate in what is known as Series “B” in South Korea for the right to qualify for the world championship games which will be held in the Soviet Union later this year. According to stories emanating from the Far East, Japan, South Korea, Formosa and Israel were to be the participants in the qualifying round.
SOUTH KOREA NOT OPPOSED TO ISRAEL
The story arriving here indicated that South Korea advised that if Israel participated it was withdrawing as the site for the qualifying round. Glovinsky’s detective work revealed that South Korea never indicated any such thing. It developed the Japan, fearful of the Arabs, insisted that Israel had qualified in the “A” series because India refused to meet the Israelis in the finals, thereby eliminating the necessity for Israel to play in the “B” series.
It was Japan which actually leaked the story that South Korea would cancel the tourney if Israel participated. This proved to be untrue according to what the South Korean Olympic people, old friends of Glovinsky, told him. Apparently everybody in the Far East is afraid of the petro-rich countries and do not want to antagonize them by inviting Israel to any sports functions.
South Korea is not fearful and gladly would have hosted Israel for the hand-ball tournament. But in view of the fact that the Israelis already had won the Middle East championship by virtue of India’s default, it was not necessary to go to South Korea. However, the South Koreans wanted it clearly stated on the record that all Israeli teams are welcome in their country and as a matter of fact, they will be sending a topflight swimmer and possibly their best basketball team to the Hapoel games in order to show their unity with the Israelis.
GAMES SCHEDULED IN JAPAN
On the other hand, Japan refuses to send any competitors to the Hapoel games but informed Glovinsky that if the Japanese women’s handball team wins the “B” series tournament it will play a two-game series with the Israelis in order to determine the Asian championships. As a matter of fact, the games are slated for late February and early March in Japan on the assumption that the Japanese have the strongest team among the three contesting squads in South Korea.
In the interest of time and saving of money, both games will be played in Japan with the Japanese hand-ball association splitting the transportation costs with Israel and assuming all maintenance expenses for the Israeli women’s handball team during its stay in Japan.
Glovinsky has advised this writer that after visiting Bangkok, Singapore, South Korea and Japan, all of the countries’ sports authorities have told him, “We have become strong anti-Semites–not against the Jews but against the Arabs.” Glovinsky has arranged for the Asian sprint champion from Thailand to appear in the Hapoel games and in addition to securing athletes from South Korea, has the promise of competitors from Singapore so that all in all the Hapoel games will continue successfully as usual with its customary 26-country representation.