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ARGENTINA | 13-02-2020 16:48

Malvinas row: Falklands badminton team competes despite Argentina protest

Argentina objects to team from disputed islands using name 'Falklands' while participating in Pan-American competition in Brazil.

A team of female badminton players from the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands have been cleared to take part in a Pan-American competition, after organisers rejected a bid by Argentina to have the team kicked out in a row over the team's name.

The team from the islands was invited to take part in the Pan-Am Team Continental Championships in Salvador, Brazil, that begun on Thursday. But one week ago, Argentina's consulate in Brazil wrote to the Brazilian Badminton Confederation to protest against the British overseas territory's participation.

Argentina, which does not have a team competing in the tournament, objected to a "Falkland Islands" team taking part under their own name and flying their own flag.

The islands have been in British hands since 1833 but Argentina has waged a diplomatic battle since the 1960s to try to gain control of the archipelago. The country claims sovereignty over the archipelago and refers to them only as Las Islas Malvinas.

Despite Argentine objections, the team were cleared to take part and posted pictures and videos on their Facebook page of the women's team competing against the United States.

"We have repeated our resolve to not back down to these bullies," stated the Falklands team on Facebook. "We have the full backing and support of Badminton Pan-Am, as well as the BWF [Badminton World Federation]."

The government on the disputed islands indicated they had lodged a complaint against Argentina to the Pan-American federation that would be taken to the International Olympic Committee.

In an email sent to AFP, BWF secretary general Thomas Lund affirmed he was aware of communications between "government authorities in Argentina and Brazil in relation to the participation of the Falkland Islands women's badminton team."

However, he pointed BWF statutes prohibited the exclusion of athletes from its sanctioned competitions "for reasons of ... politics.”

The team posted a letter from Brazil's Foreign Affairs Ministry in which it said the team's participation in the tournament did not negate the country's support for Argentina's sovereignty claims.

- TIMES/AFP

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