Updated December 14 with news that Israeli contingent made it into Dubai
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, December 12. ACCORDING to Swimming World's Israeli correspondent Dr. Buky Chass, the Israeli contingent is having trouble getting into Dubai to participate in the FINA World Short Course Championships this coming week.
"The Israeli participation in the World Short Course Championships in Dubai is very much in doubt," Chass said.
According to our source, the Israeli Swimming Federation has been having a very difficult time getting visas for the qualified team heading to the FINA-sponsored event.
The squad, comprised of Gal Nevo, Guy Barnea, Alon Mandel, Yonatan Kopelev and Amit Ivry, has been denied entry to Dubai due to visa issues. Even Israel's representative to the International Olympic Committee, Alex Giladi, has been prevented from obtaining a visa.
Additionally, the Israeli Swimming Federation had been planning a heavy security escort. However, even these measures have been scaled back.
According to our source, UAE officials have stated that they will issue visas to the Israeli team in time for the squad to leave on Monday, Dec. 13. Should the visas actually be provided, that would give the Israeli team just a day to prepare for the meet that starts on Dec. 15.
The Israeli National Television Authority, which has the broadcast rights to telecast finals each night, has also been unable to acquire visas for its crew.
Chass later confirmed that the Israeli National Television Authority stated that visas for the team and the television crew were approved today.
After much hand-wringing, the Israeli swim team made it into Dubai around midnight last night with heavy security measures in place. The team will have its first workout later today.