Malaysia's success in attracting the highest number of participants to the Youth Sailing World Championship here proves the nation's reputation is not affected even after denying visas to two Israeli windsurfers to the tournament.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the tournament had attracted a total of 433 surfers from 80 countries who are satisfied with the organisation of the tournament.
"Today we saw how all are happy and pleased with Malaysia's organisation of the tournament. Nothing was mentioned by the World Sailing representative to me on the issue because they know our policy," he told reporters after officiatingthe tournament tonight.
He was commenting on the decision barring Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan from entering Malaysia recently to participate in the tournament which begins tomorrow.
Khairy said the decision was not made by him but by the cabinet in accordance with Malaysia's foreign policy under which the country does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Khairy said he could not stop the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) from conducting investigations into Malaysia's decision but the world federation had been informed of the nation's stance about Israel's involvement in any world championship hosted by Malaysia.
Meanwhile, ISAF vice-president Chris Atkins, who also spoke at the opening ceremony, said this year's event was the largest ever recorded based on the number of surfers and participating countries.
"This tournament will be the beginning of a journey for these young surfers towards the 2020 Olympics and that's why we call this championship a jewel," said Atkins.