The UAE authorities have denied Nigerian athletes entry to the world swimming championships being held in Dubai.
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Allegations of a ban on Nigerian swimmers competing at the 15th FINA World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi began to circulate as soon as the competition began. Many interpreted the alleged exclusion of Nigerian athletes as a form of discrimination against their nationality.
According to Misbar's investigation, a Nigerian newspaper, The Punch, first reported the claim. According to a Nigerian daily newspaper, the athletes and their representatives were denied entry to the competition by UAE authorities. The Punch cited Nigerian athletes who had traveled from Europe to the United Arab Emirates and claimed they had been discriminated against by Emirati authorities because of their Nigerian passports.
The UAE responded to the claim by denying any form of discrimination against athletes and national teams participating in the competition. The athletes were quarantined after one of the Nigerian officials tested positive for COVID-19. The procedure was justified by the local health authority's Corona pandemic regulations. “These rules were applied to all national teams without exception,” it was added. We categorically deny any and all claims of discrimination against COVID-19 positive people, including people in close contact with them.
The athletes also explained that none of them had contact with the official that reportedly tested positive. According to the athletes when an athlete from Britain tested positive, other members of the team were allowed to participate.
The Nigeria Aquatic Federation made no official comment on the incident. Several media outlets viewed the incident as part of an ongoing diplomatic crisis between the UAE and Nigeria over air traffic agreements.
Misbar considers the circulating claim suspicious in light of the lack of evidence, polarized, and contradictory reports regarding the exclusion of Nigerian athletes from the swimming championship.