JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s national swim team is competing under heavy security in a world competition in Dubai.
The team arrived in Dubai just in time for the Tuesday opening ceremony of the FINA World Swimming Championships after the United Arab Emirates agreed at the last minute to issue visas for the team. The team was subject to a thorough security check and their passports were not stamped, Haaretz reported.
The team was surprised during the opening ceremony when it was introduced as ISR, instead of announced by its name like the other 147 countries marching into the arena. More than 800 athletes are participating at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex, a state-of-the-art facility built especially for the event, The Associated Press reported.
In February 2009, the UAE denied a visa to Israeli tennis star Shahar Pe’er to compete in the annual Dubai Tennis Championships. The tournament paid a record $300,000 fine to the World Tennis Association for the affront and lost corporate sponsors as a result. Pe’er was granted a visa to the 2010 event.