MANILA, Philippines – Malaysia withdrew from an Asian boxing tournament in the Philippines due to the incursion of armed Filipinos in Sabah, a Filipino boxing official said Sunday, March 10.
Malaysia sent a message saying it was pulling out of the Asian Confederation Youth Boxing Championships which started Sunday at Subic Bay Freeport, north of Manila, said Ed Picson, director of the local amateur boxing association.
“Due to the armed conflict in Sabah, our National Sports Council has directed MABF (Malaysia Amateur Boxing Federation) to cancel our trip to Subic,” Picson quoted the message as saying.
The statement from the Malaysian federation did not elaborate and it was unclear if the Malaysians were concerned for their safety in the Philippines, said Picson.
“We’re disappointed that sport will be affected by the political conflict,” he told AFP.
Three boxers and three officials from Malaysia were scheduled to take part in the tournament, which is to be attended by 26 Asian countries, he said.
Pakistan is also pulling for unspecified reasons while the Syrian delegation failed to show up for reasons which remain unclear, he added.
Followers of a southern Philippine sultanate entered the Malaysian state of Sabah last month in an attempt to claim the area for the self-declared sultan.
This has spiralled into violent clashes with Malaysian forces, resulting in the deaths of 53 militants and eight police officers and the arrests of 85 people for possible links to the intruders, Malaysian officials have said.
Local activists have picketed the Malaysian embassy in Manila over the incident but so far there has been no violence over the Sabah conflict in the Philippines. – Rappler.com
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