The Australian Federal government plans to keep its international borders closed until mid-2022, impacting on athletes participating in the postponed Deaflympic Games.
Phil Harper, GM of Deaf Sports Australia has written an open letter to all national Deaf sports organisations and members of the ICSD to share their decision about attending the forthcoming Summer Deaflympic Games that ICSD hopes will be held in Brazil next year.
After considerable deliberation with their federal government, Sports Australia and Sport Integrity Australia, Harper and his colleagues have made the decision not to send athletes to the games due to the remaining uncertainties of the Covid pandemic.
The main issue concerning Deaf athletes is that Australia plans to keep its borders closed until sometime in mid-2022 and travellers returning have to quarantine for 2 weeks at the own expense on their return.
As with other nations, the Australian government does not support it Deaflympic athletes financially as its does for Paralympians therefore Deaf athletes continue to be considered unworthy of their support and would not be able to afford the personal costs of competing in Brazil and then paying out for the 2-week quarantining on their return.
Harper shared the frustrations of many in the global Deaflympic community: “This decision is made with extreme difficulty knowing the impact on our athletes, coaches, managers and families who see this (Deaflympics) as a pinnacle international event in their sport lives, however, the risks are too great and we would not be supported by our Federal Government to attend.’
The Summer Deaflympics were originally planned for December 2021 and then ICSD took direction from the organising committee in Brazil to postpone until May 2022.
The Deaflympic Games are the second oldest global multi-sport event after the Olympics, it supersedes the Paralympics by 36 years when it held its first event the International Silent Games in Paris 1924.