Egyptian squash player calls out double standards on mixing politics and sports
An Egyptian athlete on Saturday slammed the hypocrisy on rules related to mixing politics and sports amid encouragement to speak out in support of Ukraine amid Russia's invasion of its neighbouring country.
Squash player Ali Farag, who won the Optasia Championship title at the Wimbledon Club in London, used his victory speech to address the hypocrisy, which saw athletes penalised for speaking out on politics, including the oppression faced by Palestinians for years.
"We’ve never been allowed to speak about politics in sports, but all of a sudden now it's allowed," Farag said, calling on people to look at oppression everywhere in the world, including Palestine.
"We all see what's going on in the world at the moment, with , and nobody is happy with what’s going on. No one should accept any killings in the world, any oppression," Farag said.
“I mean, the Palestinians have been going through that for the past 74 years and, well, I guess because it doesn't fit the narrative of the of the media of the West, we couldn't talk about it, but now that we can talk about the Ukraine, we can talk about Palestinians. So please keep that in mind."
A video of his speech has since gone viral on social media platform, with many applauding Farag for speaking out.
World No.1 Squash player Ali Farag calling out double standards on Ukraine coverage: “We’ve never been allowed to speak about politics in sports, but all of a sudden now it’s allowed… if we can talk about Ukraine, we can talk about Palestine.” pic.twitter.com/zUHLeiaVyc— PALESTINE ONLINE 🇵🇸 (@OnlinePalEng) March 13, 2022
"Keeping politics out of sport can never be used as an excuse again," one Twitter user said.
"I hope…. that this tragedy in the Ukraine will change something for oppressed and invaded people everywhere," another Twitter user said.
"Fair play to him. I got a bit emotional tbh when he mentioned the Palestinian people. Time to stop selective [condemnation], time to stand up for all the oppressed countries," another added.
Russia has been hit hard by unprecedented sanctions following its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, including banning Russian teams from taking part in international tournaments and games.
Athletes have also come out in full support of Ukraine, drawing ire from many around the world over what they consider double standards, as players were often told to "keep politics out of sports" when it was related to the Palestinians.
Israel continues to annex territory, demolish homes, and arbitrarily arrest and kill Palestinians on a nearly daily basis, defying international law in many cases.