Asian Athletics Association President Dahlan Al Hamad has criticised the United Arab Emirates for opting against sending athletes to the Asian Athletics Championships.
Four days of competition are set to begin tomorrow at Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar’s capital city, Doha.
The event is set to offer organisers a crucial test ahead of hosting the World Championships later this year.
The Championships will take place amid a political dispute in the region.
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were among countries to cut ties with Qatar in June 2017.
They accused the nation of supporting terrorism, a claim which was denied.
The resultant blockade included withdrawing ambassadors and imposing trade and travel bans.
The diplomatic crisis has put pressure on Qatar with sport among several sectors impacted.
The UAE has opted not to send athletes to compete in the Asian Championships but Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will be represented.
And Al Hamad reportedly criticised the UAE’s decision.
“How can Asia vote for such a strange approach, whatever the justifications and reasoning might be, as they claim that the reason is the non-approval of the UAE Foreign Ministry,” he said, according to the Gulf Times.
“This is not acceptable and contradicts the rules and regulations of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as well as the Asian Athletics Association.”
Al Hamad, an IAAF vice-president, was re-elected as Asian Athletics Association President prior to the Championships.
He received 30 votes, with Jordan’s Saad Alhiyasat only polling 13.
Al Hamad is set to serve a four-year term until 2023.
He chairs the Doha 2019 Organising Committee and will hope the Asian Athletics Championships provide a positive test event for the World Championships.
The 2019 Championships, featuring around 2,000 athletes from 213 countries, are scheduled to take place from September 27 to October 6.