Google Down the Line!: THE LOW DOWN: Shahar subject to possible protest threats in Auckland, extra security on hand

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

THE LOW DOWN: Shahar subject to possible protest threats in Auckland, extra security on hand

The controversy surrounding the Israeli's invasion of Gaza is being felt in the tennis world as well.

Israeli baller Shahar Peer, who has extra security with her this week, was asked via correspondence by a New Zealand protest group, Peace and Justice Auckland, to withdraw from this week's ASB Classic as a comprehensive sports boycott of Israel. When no reply was received, the group said it would protest outside the venue on Thursday when Shahar was scheduled to play her quarterfinal match.

The 21-year old, whose brother is a military-reservist and was called up, responded by saying,

I have nothing to do with this. I'm Shahar Peer. I came here to play tennis. I know I'm from Israel and I'm proud of my country and that playing tennis is what I'm going to do tomorrow.

Two days ago, I was crying a bit, actually more than a bit, so it was a hard time for me. I hope as soon as possible it will end and we will all be happy, because no one wants to be in a war.
Sports + politics is such a tricky combination. Some athletes confront these situations head-on while others choose to avoid political issues altogether. Ultimately, it's a personal decision whether to engage the discussions or not.

But in any case, it must be a tough situation for Shahar and I think she made the right decision to play on. She's in Auckland to play tennis, not to be political.

Let's hope she stays safe over there.

(image via AP)


  1. Sad indeed, hard topic, but the point definitely its that there is no place in sport for politics.

  2. I still remember when Arthur Ashe was getting death threats. I hope she stays safe.

  3. Give the girl a break. She is a tennis player let her play tennis and stop bringing her into all this politics. These people should be ashamed of themselves the pressure they are putting on this girl.


  4. Sitting in Auckland as I am, I've gotta say that she'll be fine. Protest around here means that a few people will stand around being grumpy - in my 22 years, the only 'violent' protest I can remember is someone throwing a clump of mud at a politician... and that dude was carted away pretty smartly by the coppers. And that was well deserved. I agree that it's pretty low that they try to pressure her like that, but also don't forget that sports and politics are, unfortunately, often linked when you play internationally. Sucks but true.

  5. I have to agree with the above poster, protests in auckland are quite low key. I was at the Shahar's match this morning, apart from loud chanting from outside the stadium she had nothing to worry about. Few minutes into the start of the match the chanting stopped. Perhaps they were told to shut up or move. Unfortunately, Shahar appeared upset by all this and her performance was below par.


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