Deaflympics could happen late in 2021 but deaf sports struggle more than ever

 

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As deaf sport faces the challenge of Covid restrictions, athletes in many disciplines are hoping to get back on track in 2021. The summer Deaflympics will go ahead as planned in Brazil, from December 5 to 21, say the event’s determined organisers.

The southern Brazilian city of Caxias do Sul is the chosen host venue for 24th summer Deaflympics. Last held in 2017 in Samsun, Turkey, the games involved some 5,000 athletes and delegates across 21 sports.

Emir José Alves da Silva and Evaldo Antônio Kuiava, respectively the president and vice-president of the Deaflympics organising committee, announced this month that they have written to participating countries to assure them of their commitment. Three scenarios for the preparation and the course of the event are proposed, based on a similar format to the planned Tokyo Olympic Games.

"Everyone will be informed about these scenarios, because it is a global problem and we do not want to neglect anything in terms of security of the event itself," reads the organisers’ communication.

Basketball

Heraklion in Greece has pipped Ankara in Turkey to host the 2023 World Deaf Basketball Championships, it was recently announced. A tournament will be held for both the men’s and women’s game.

"It was a very difficult decision for the members of the Deaf International Basketball Federation (DIBF) Central Board to choose the next country but with a sense of responsibility, with a clear conscience, and with the belief that the country that will take over the next championships, it will be successful and organised at a high level," said DIBF President Ioannis Stoufis.

In the last women’s tournament, held in 2019 in Poland, Greece took the title, while the USA won the men’s event.

Cricket hit for six by pandemic

Growth of the deaf cricket scene was hit by the cancellation of the planned World Cup because of Covid restrictions. It was set to take place in the UAE in November 2020. Now there is a fresh public tender for a rescheduling of the event in 2022.

The 14 nations in the Deaf International Cricket Council are Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Pakistan, Qatar, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe (full members), and Nepal, New Zealand, Trinidad & Tobago and USA (Associate Members).

Surprisingly, one major tournament did take place in 2020: the English Cricket Association for the Deaf National T20 Festival was held at Bedworth Cricket Club near Nuneaton in August. There are more than 400 known deaf cricketers across the UK, their hearing loss ranging from monaural hearing aid fitted players to profoundly deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users. A minimum hearing loss of 55dB on the better ear applies to all players.

Source: Inside the Games; The Cricketer;

P.W.