Polish Olympic swimmer refuses to coach Malaysian team over ban on Israelis

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Polish Olympic swimmer refuses to coach Malaysian team over ban on Israelis

Bart Kizierowski turns down position due to stance of Malaysia's government, and receives hundreds of abusive online messages

Bart Kizierowski (Instagram)
Bart Kizierowski (Instagram)

An Olympic swimmer from Poland said he turned down an offer to coach Malaysia’s national swimming team in part because of the country’s ban on Israeli athletes.

Bart Kizierowski reportedly wrote on Facebook last week: “Yesterday, I was offered a very attractive coaching position from the Malaysia Swimming Federation. Among other personal reason(s), I declined that position due to recent statements made by Malaysian politicians regarding (the) refusal of visas for athletes who were supposed to compete in the World Championship organised by that country (Malaysia).”

He also thanked the swimming community in Malaysia for the offer, the local English-language newspaper The Star reported. The post has since been removed.

He reportedly received hundreds of comments ranging from anti-Israel to antisemitic. More of the comments appear on unrelated posts on his Instagram account.

Kizierowski represented Poland at four Olympic Games in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. He won a bronze medals for Poland in two World Championships. He currently is coaching swimming in Spain.

On Sunday, the International Paralympic Committee stripped Malaysia of the right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships over its refusal to allow Israeli athletes to enter the country to participate. Foreign Minister Mahathir Mohamad also said that Israeli athletes would be banned from any competitions in Malaysia. Malaysia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. Entry to Malaysia on an Israeli passport is prohibited.

Online trolls targeted Jewish News in their thousands over its coverage of Malaysia being stripped of hosting a major sporting event for banning Israel.

Antisemitic comments, including Nazi imagery, was published on Facebook posts after it was announced the country was stripped of the right to host the World Para Swimming Championships.

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