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Maccabiah turns down teenage girl’s request to be a part of Israel’s U-19 side

Naomi Eytan has been banned from representing Israel in the U-19 cricket event at the Maccabiah Games due to the fact that she’s a girl, despite playing for the side throughout the season.

cricket Updated: Jun 14, 2017 16:14 IST
Maccabiah Games,Israel U-19 cricket team,Naomi Eytan
Naomi Eytan has been barred from representing Israel at the Maccabiah Games because she is a girl. (Facebook)

Naomi Eytan, a 14-year-old Israeli girl has been banned from representing her country in the under-19 side at a major international tournament after organisers cited that only ‘male’ players could take part. Eytan was the only girl in the country’s under-19 team and has played for them throughout the season. However, with the Maccabiah Games around the corner, Eytan is shattered that she will have to sit out.

Fellow Israeli cricketers and the Israel Cricket Association are now backing Eytan as she is now fighting against the ruling and has even promised to appeal to sports minister Miri Regev. “I am very angry and disappointed that they won’t let me play,” Times of Israel quoted Eytan as saying. The Maccabiah Games, considered as the Jewish Olympics, is scheduled to run from July 4-18.

Although women’s cricket dates back to several centuries, it’s the men’s format that’s widely recognized and popular. “If there was a girls’ team I wouldn’t have a problem, but there are no girls in Israel who play cricket and I was chosen to represent Israel as one of the 15 best,” Naomi had told Ynet earlier.

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Maccabiah tried to justify their stand by stating that there were specific rules for the tournament and it didn’t meet international regulations. “The competition is conducted in accordance with international regulations while maintaining professional and safety standards,” read the statement to Ynet as quoted by The Times of Israel. “The Maccabiah received a request by the cricket association to include a female player in the youth team, which doesn’t meet the international regulations that the Maccabiah relies on.”

The director of the Israel Cricket Association, Naor Gudker, has also decided to support the teenage girl. “In the past a female player from Beersheba played together with the men in the European championships after organizers let her,” The Times of Israel quoted Gudker as saying to Ynet. “I am optimistic that perhaps the decision will be changed. She is a talented and outstanding girl and it is a shame. I would expect them to let her play.”

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Eytan has also written a letter to Galia Wolloch, the president of Na’amat, a women’s rights organization urging them to help her in the cause.

First Published: Jun 14, 2017 16:14 IST