Japan Withdraws Its Entire Team from the Summer Deaflympics

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With five days still remaining at the Summer Deaflympics in Brazil, Japan has decided to ‘abstain from all competitions‘ in order to prevent a spread of Covid-19 infections amongst everyone involved with the games and the local population.

Writing to the ICSD and all its members, the Japanese officials have explained that with their experience of hosting the 2021 Olympics and Paralympics, Japan incurred additional expenses to accommodate all its athletes and officials in single rooms and hired all their own private transport to move from hotels to training and competition venues. Furthermore, each of their sports team were isolated from each other to avoid any potential cross-sport infections.

Despite all these additional precautions, 10 of their athletes and one official are currently self- isolating after producing positive PCR tests. Japan is complaining that countermeasures against Covid-19 at sports venues is inadequate and that the number of Japanese athletes infected and the number of last minute withdrawal of athletes from other countries (for reasons unknown) suggest that there is likely to be a further increase of infection amongst those attending the games. To encourage people to participate, the organisers ensured that PCR checks/tests would be carried out on arrival at the airport to separate and isolate those who were infected, according to Japan, this did not take place.

They have written an official protest letter to ICSD and the host organising committee to complain that:

  1. ICSD and the Organising Committee failed to fulfil their responsibilities to implement Covid-19 measures
  2. ICSD and the Organising Committee did not carry out PCR test on participants
  3. Japan should not be fined for late mass withdrawal from competitions
  4. ICSD shall instruct its members not to discriminate or exclude anyone on the grounds of Covid-19

The final complaint was made because Italy’s volleyball team asked their opponents Japan to prove that their athletes had tested negative for Covid-19 without themselves being subject to the same testing. Italy apologised to Japan when they realised the discriminatory nature of their demands.

Japan concluded that due to ICSD and the organisers not having enough money to provide countermeasures, the games will be remembered as a Games of Fear.

All the above information was obtained from official Japanese letters on 11th May 2022.

Deaflympics Taking Place in Caxias Do Sul, Brazil

The official website of the 24th Summer Deaflympics is available at https://www.deaflympics2021.com/

The top three in the medals table so far:

Image taken from http://www.deaflympics2021.com

Russians used body doubles for Deaflympic Audiogram Testing

12 days ago, we were sent a message alerting us to fraudulent activity by Russian Deaf Ice Hockey to enter hearing players into the Deaflympics.

Our messenger claimed that they were approached by a Russian whistle-blower maintaining that the Russian Deaf Ice Hockey team have been cheating for years, using hearing players at the European, World and Deaflympic competitions. For their evidence they shared links to Russian on-line news website which we have checked and verified. The article is an interview with Vyacheslav Rakhin who competed in the 2003, 2007 Winter Deaflympics and honoured with the title Master of Sport, Russia. The article appeared one week after the completion of the 2015 Deaflympics hosted in the Russian resort of Khanty-Mansiysk.

In the interview, published in November 2015, Rakhin talks openly about revealing the murkier side of Deaf sport as well as his business life after professional ice-hockey. Our source says that there was another interview in December 2015 where Rakhin denied everything, “we believe someone in Russia got mad about his older interview and told him to fix this up.”

Although the activities described in this interview took place in 2003, the Russian whistle-blower says that hearing players were used in the team at the World Deaf Championships 2013 and Deaflympics 2015.

Here is our summary of the news article on the Russian website, we invite our readers to judge for themselves and read the news sources at the end of this post.

Rakhin says that the Executive Board of Russia’s national team knew he was hearing “It was no secret, except to the medical committee.” whom he managed to convince that he was deaf.

Competing as a professional, Rakhin was approached in 1995 but the Russians felt that he would be too high profile and suspicious and instead, concentrated on players from Novosibirsk where they had a core of players from the school for the Deaf competing in local leagues.

When he retired, he was asked to compete in the 2003 Deaflympics. As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) he had learnt to lip-read and became fluent in sign language. The team coach was from Tver, and they strengthened the team with two more hearing players but the big problem was how to pass the hearing test organised by the medical committee.

Rakhin was able to pass the test because he understood how to behave the like a Deaf person “my mother couldn’t her the doorbell, but she could hear knocking.” Knowing that she could not hear high frequency sounds only low frequency – he applied this tactic during the test.

He tried to coach the other two players into passing the test, but the doctor was able to spot they were hearing because “they just stared at one spot without reacting to anything.” The doctor made some notes and then turned around to challenge the “cheaters”.

Because of the failure, people from a “higher level” had to find an agreement with the doctor as ‘the executive board of the national team pleaded “that there was a great need on behalf of our country, because without these players we will be kaput” At first, the doctor objected and said that she would get into trouble, but it appears that she was persuaded to issue false audiograms.

To be able to pass the audiogram tests at the Deaflympics, the team officials had to bring body doubles to attend the mandatory test in place of the two players and they needed deaf people who closely resembled them. It was a difficult task, but eventually they found two deaf men who vaguely looked like the two hearing players, one who was bald and the other with red hair. The first person was forced, under protest, to shave his head and the red-haired impostor managed to cover up his athlete accreditation with his hands, enough to pass the scrutineers.

Rakhin explained that this might be very difficult to achieve nowadays because the technology is more sophisticated.

The Russians received 10,000 rubles each for winning the bronze medal in 2003 and a monthly stipend of 16,000 a month for four years. In 2007 they each received 30,000 a month for winning the silver.

The original articles are found at:

http://sport.business-gazeta.ru/article/122217/

https://www.business-gazeta.ru/article/130016

Vyacheslav Rakhin Deaflympic profile https://www.deaflympics.com/athletes/vyacheslav-rakhin

Nations Receive Invites to the 24th Summer Deaflympics.

National Deaf Sports federations who have been invited to participate will now decide whether or not to send athletes and teams to the next Summer Deaflympics in Brazil.

Immediately after the ICSD Extraordinary Congress in Switzerland last week, The ICSD officially invited all its member nations to take part in the 24th Summer Deaflympics from 1-15 May 2022 in Caxias do Sul, Brazil.

There are 21 sports currently listed on the programme and ICSD President Gustavo Perazzolo writes ‘We look forward to having you come down..’ Perazzolo himself is a former Brazilian Deaflympian in volleyball and cycling.

Official logo 24th Summer Deaflympics

There is an official website for the games https://www.deaflympics2021.com

Questions to be asked

There are questions now facing National Deaf Sports Federations as they decide whether or not to participate in this event. Australia has already had to withdraw due to its government regulations on international travel which are already extended into 2022.

Travel restrictions will make it very expensive if athletes and their officials have to isolate at their own expense on return to their home countries. The outbreak of the new Omicron variant is set to have a severe impact on travel that could last well into 2022.

The state of Rio Grande do Sul does not have its own international airport and athletes will have to use internal flights to reach the local airport further increasing the risk of contamination by the virus and potentially the more transmittable Omicron.

Brazil currently has the second highest number of national recorded deaths due to Covid-19 and questions are being asked if the true number of deaths and cases are being recorded, the country currently at 615,570 deaths and 22.1 million cases nationally. President Jair Bolsonaro has told Brazilians to ‘stop whining‘ and has continued to downplay the virus. Brazil’s Supreme Court has opened an inquiry into claims made by Bolsonaro that Covid-19 vaccines may increase the chance of contracting Aids. One positive note to make in all of this is that the host state has one of the lowest number of deaths and cases so far in Brazil.

The official games website has a page showing some official Travel Insurance available, but neither that nor health insurance will give immunity to a virus – only a vaccine may do that.

For months now, national federation representatives have been asking the Deaflympic organisers to show that they are making arrangements to protect athletes from the virus as well as ensuring that the event will also have stringent Anti-doping checks and Audiogram checks in place.

Concerns about anti-doping and audiogram checks are long-standing as the CEO of ICSD, Dmitry Rebrov is Russian and has been found guilty by his country’s legal system of falsifying audiograms and ICSD have not followed the IOC and IPC in restricting how Russia can compete due to RUSADAs poor history of doping scandals. Last month’s World Short Course Swimming Championships had no in-competition anti-doping tests in place. When ICSD President Perazzolo was questioned about the lack of anti-doping tests he blamed the Polish organising committee and did not take responsibility for ICSD’s role in event planning oversight.

In recent weeks, CSD Head of Technical Commission, Martin Bogard has made presentations to his colleagues in the commission and to delegates at the Extraordinary Congress last week. We understand from comments being made by congress delegates that some of the sports sites may not be up to international standards which, if the claims are true, would make it difficult to validate any new Deaflympic Records set in the sports affected.

The IOC has continued to with hold its funding to ICSD in the wake of embezzlement scandals involving a former ICSD President and the umbrella organisation did not sanction the 2019 Winter Deaflympics and it remains to be seen what they will do for Caxias do Sul.

Key Points from the ICSD Extraordinary Congress in Lausanne Switzerland.

The information we have received has come from a variety of delegate sources and cross referencing between different national delegates gives us confidence that what we are sharing with you has happened this weekend in Lausanne.

Hotel Alpha Palmiers, Lausanne, Switzerland. venue of the ICSD Extraordinary Congress

Just as Congress weekend was about to get underway the world was alerted to the new highly transmissible variant of Covid-19 from the South African region. Because of this, Swiss border control placed a 10-day quarantine on any visitors from Belgium, Southern African region nations and elsewhere that deemed risky.

SUNDAY 28th November, Lausanne, DAY 1. 

  • ICSD has116 member countries registered but approx. 55 are fully paid up and allowed to vote.
  • After 2 hours of debate, Congress finally agreed to accept Kasper Bergmann as Congress Moderator.
  • A motion to include a vote for DIHF (International Deaf Ice-Hockey) as an Associate member did not get approval.
  • A final roll call confirmed the attendance to 53 delegates (3 or 4 accessing remotely), so the voting majority is set at 27 votes. (Exact numbers will be confirmed by ICSD minutes)
  • Congress voted to change the right to amend the agenda at any time during Congress
  • Financial Audits of Accounts for 2013-2019 were approved
  • The remainder of the day was spent on the Deaf Sport Reform debate. In summary, delegates voted in favour of:
  • Associate members gaining fundamental voting rights, equal as national members.
  • ICSD Board would be reduced or enlarged in size by including an athlete representative.
  • Regional Confederation representatives to get one vote each on the ICSD board

MONDAY  29th November, Lausanne, DAY 2. 

The day’s debates were on the current state of ICSD governance and the hosting of the 2022 Summer Deaflympics.

  • Over the past two years, ICSD members and followers of Deaf sport have been confused over who is leading the ICSD, is it EB5 – the elected Board members or the RCs who broke away with ICSD Exec Officer Dmitry Rebrov.
  • Both groups (EB5 and RCs) were given the opportunity to make statements to the floor and then a vote was taken that accept the Extraordinary Congress as legal.
  • After further afternoon discussions on the legitimacy of the ICSD leadership, Congress voted to approve the establishment of an Investigation task force to look into the facts of the whole situation since 2019 and report its findings to the next Congress.
  • It has been confirmed that Caxias is now the preferred host for the Summer Deaflympics 2022, this decision was made by the Brazil Deaf Sports Federation and accepted by Congress.
  • There appear to be plans in place for Summer Deaflympics 2025 in Japan and Winter Deaflympics 2027 in Korea, Taiwan also plans to host the 2027 Youth Games.
  • The final act was the election of an Board to work with limited powers to oversee the Deaflympics, organise Congress and have oversight of the Investigation task force until 2022 when Congress is usually held just before the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Deaflympics in Caxias do Sul, Brazil 1-14th May:
  • President – Gustavo Perazzolo
  • Vice President World Sport – Yutaka Osugi
  • Vice President Youth – David Lanesman
  • Members at Large – Yakup Khitir, Kristian Lantto, Adam Kosa and Alexandra Polivanchuk

President of German Deaf Sports Association Steps Down

DGSV have announced the resignation of their President Josef Willmerdinger.

DGSV announced on 24.11.2021 that they have, with ‘deep regret‘, accepted the resignation of their President Josef Willmerdinger for health reasons.

Josef Willmerdinger (c. gsc-frankenthal.de)

He has been highly praised for his ‘sovereign manner’ in leadership with his ‘great commitment to deaf sport and international events’. Highly respected in the association by its volunteers and the numerous sports agencies in Germany.

We will miss him very much’

DSGV plan to hold an extraordinary association meeting in the first quarter of 2022, to find a temporary President and the current vacancy of the Vice President for Sports Development.

Willmerdinger previously served as ICSD Vice President World Sports and competed in the Deaflympics football competitions of Bucharest 1977 and Koln 1981.

WADA Reinstates DIBF

The World Anti Doping Agency has removed DEBF from the list of non-compliant signatories.

(logo: DIBF)

Two days ago (24 November) the Deaf International Basketball Federation (DIBF) received a letter from the WADA Director General to confirm that following a recommendation from the Compliance Review Committee, the WADA Executive Committee has ‘determined that DIBF should be reinstated with immediate effect and therefore removed from the list of non-compliant signatories.’

WADA continued to say that it was ‘pleased with the progress and looks forward to work with DIBF to protect clean athletes’.

You can read about the WADA Code

DIBF Update on WADA Compliance

Deaf International Basketball Federation share the latest update on their work to become compliant. with WADA ‘Clean Sport’ code

It’s a busy time for Deaf Martial Arts!

Both the Deaf Karate and Taekwondo World Championships are taking place alongside each other in Tehran, Iran.

Details of schedules, competitors and competitions can be found on their websites.

We must make a caution, that our browser indicates that both websites are not secure, so visiting will be at your own risk.

Also, the 1st World Deaf Judo Championships took place last month in Versailles, France. This was also a shared-venue completion, held along side the 1st CISM championships.

CISM ( International Council of Military Sports) See video clip at foot of page.

Two Big Ears are very pleased to see International Deaf Sports organisations working closer to their International Federations and being included with parallel events – makes good use of resources and creates opportunties to raise the profile of Deaf athletes.

deafkarate.com

ICSD Blame Poland Organising Committee for Doping Omission

Last night, ICSD Interim President pointed the finger of blame at the Polish Organising Committee for lack of anti-doping tests at Swimming World Championships.

Yesterday we reported on the concerns from Christof Niklaus, a technical representative at the 1st World Deaf Short Course Swimming Championships that there are no arrangements in place to test swimmers to ensure there are no doping violations.

WADA have been made aware of the situation and the concerns that ICSD and Russia may have colluded to avoid the testing.

At last nights technical meeting, Christof asked Gustavo, the ICSD Interim President if he could explain why there was no anti-doping at the championships to which he replied to email the ICSD office.

Christof Niklaus asked ICSD to explain why there have been no anti-doping test in place. (photo by Christof Niklaus)

Christof repeated his question “because he is the ICSD representative at these championships and therefore should answer my question.

In his second reply, Gustavo blamed the Poland Organising Committee for not organising anti-doping tests.

Christof considers Gustavo’s reply to show that he is “A very poor president, not fit for office.”

We understand that all Deaf World Championship organising committees are obliged to follow all regulations for hosting sports events if they wish to be sanctioned by the ICSD. In the process, ICSD should have appointed its Technical Director of swimming to work closely with the Organising Committee to ensure that arrangements were in place to meet WADA regulations. Therefore ICSD cannot deflect the blame on the Organising Committee, it must also accept that it is also responsible and if necessary withdrawing its stamp of approval to a non-compliant event.

The ICSD Chief Executive Dmitry Rebrov continues to hold the office of Secretary General of the All-Russian Sports Federation of Deaf Sport. He would also be responsible, on behalf of the ICSD Board, for overseeing the work of the Technical Commission to ensure that the WADA code of practice is implemented. This blatant conflict of interest does nothing to safeguard the protection of clean athletes especially when Rebrov has also been found guilty in a Russian court of falsifying audiograms.

After Valery Rukhledev was removed from office, the ICSD Board attempted to deal with the misdemeanours and subordination of Rebrov which would have had a part to play in the leadership split that we now have in the organisation.