Russian Deaflympic Gold medallist sues former ICSD President of Slander

The legal representatives of the Russian beach Volleyball athlete Rushan Dayanov have filed a lawsuit of slander to protect his honour and dignity against accusations made by Valery Rukhledev in a TV interview that he is in fact hearing and should not be competing in deaf sport.

Extract from Video: Dayanov having an audiometry test (copyright DEAFNET)

We are grateful to readers of our website who have alerted us to this case. The information is available on the Russian website DEAFNET from October 2022. It also has a video of Dayanov as he has a hearing test to prove that his deafness meets ICSD standards of 55dB or more in the better ear.

The story came about after ICSD received an anonymous latter claiming that the athlete has fraudulently won a Beach Volleyball gold medal at the 2005 Deaflympics in Melbourne. Such accusation are very serious for Russian athletes because if they are disqualified, they not only lose their medal but also a pension from the government.

Dayanov and Ivanov at the medal ceremony (copyright DEAFNET)

Dayanov’s team-mate in the Beach Volleyball competition was Stanislav Ivanov the head of the All-Russian Society of the Deaf (VOG) which suggests that the letter was actually written by disgruntled former employees at VOG who have a vendetta against Ivanov and that Dayanov has become the scapegoat.

Ruslan Daryakuliev, Dayanov’s Lawyer (copyright DEAFNET)

The lawyer representing Dayanov claim to have irrefutable proof of his hearing loss and in the video, the athlete said “I achieved the championship with sweat and blood, worked hard for 20 years to deserve this prize- not only for myself, but first of all the country. This whole situation was an absolute shockfor me. I have nothing to hide. It hurts that for the sake of petty intrigues, swindlers are ready to break a persons life.”

The lawyer Daryakuliev promises that the response to slander would be ‘extremely harsh’. The defendants in the case are Rukhledev, the All-Russian Television of the Deaf and its editor in chief Alexander Soldatov. Applications have already been prepared to initiate criminal cases under the charge of ‘slander’.

Valery Rukhledev, former ICSD President speaking to All-Russian Deaf TV (copyright DEAFNET)

The video in the article shows Rukhledev talking to All-Russian Deaf TV “Dyanov spoke among the deaf, but in fact he is 100% hearing”. he speaks fluently and does not know sign language. This is already a global scandal.”

This case does raise issues around the proof that athletes require to compete in international deaf sports. In the athlete’s defence it has been explained that he has speech that is almost indistinguishable from that of hearing people because he did not become deaf until he was 10 years old after a serious illness. Comments on the website suggest that it may be very difficult to prove what his hearing was like in 2005, because Dayanov is now 62/63 years of age and likely that he would present such a level of deafness for his age.

The video showing Dayanov’s Deaflympic medals (Copyright DEAFNET)

His last Deaflympic competition was in 2017 when he won a bronze medal in the beach Volleyball.

The lawyer also argues that the Russian Deaflympic committee should not be undertaking disciplinary checks on the basis of an anonymous letter and should have taken measures to protect athletes from anonymous accusations and identifying the authors of such letters.

Russian Deaflympic team with President Putin (copyright DEAFNET)

We have no updates on this case, perhaps our readers will keep us informed?

You can rind the full article on DEAFNET website

ICSD Ignores the ban on Russian and Belarussian officials

Two Big Ears raises the question about the appointment of a Russian citizen as TD for orienteering

ICSD have just announced the latest list of ICSD Technical Directors for Deaf sports.

We draw your attention to the continued appointment of the TD for Orienteering who is a Russian citizen.

This post is not questioning the competency of the TD themselves, they are capable of their job.

We are questioning the lack of judgement and consistency of ICSD decision making with regards to the ban of Russian and Belarussian athletes and officials from international sport.

We assume that ICSD orienteering is run under the rules of the International Orienteering Federation (IOF) and according to the IOF website:

“Can a IOF Event Advisor from Russia/Belarus be appointed as an Event Advisor for an event in another Federation?” The answer is “No”.

The role of an ICSD Technical Director operates in the capacity of an ‘Events Advisor’ to the organising committee of the ICSD Deaflympics and World Championships.

We suggest that the ICSD member countries should ask the ICSD Legal Commission to review this appointment and satisfy the international Deaf community that it is operating within the parameters of the international ban and it’s own commitments and obligations to that ban.

Screenshots of the IOF website are available below

Making sure that ICSD is Inclusive

Two Big Ears responds to a reader comment that the political views of the ICSD leadership might not be inclusive and suggest what needs to happen.

Commenting our our last post (What can Deaf sports expect from the new ICSD Leadership? ) one of our readers was concerned about ICSD not being inclusive enough:

“I am mostly worried about inclusiveness with Kosa at the wheel. Him coming from an extremist right wing party, voting against inclusive policies/laws to promote LGBTQIA+-rights don’t speak for his position as leader, to be honest. Maybe the board of ICSD needs to be as diverse as possible before being able to make any differences in the international Deaf sports atmosphere” Two Big Ears Reader.

There are no subtitles to this video, it is a BSL translation of this post.

This reader’s comment of concern regarding the political affiliations and voting decisions of the ICSD leaders elected to represent deaf athletes is a very important subject. All organisations must decide what and whom they represent and protect. As in the case against Russia and Belarus, not all countries voted to, or agreed with the decision to ban these two nations from international competitions, but the majority have and therefore the motion was passed.

In the case of the recent elections to choose the new leadership of the ICSD, the evidence presented to the floor came from the candidates themselves, through their personal statements and attached letters of support. It was then up to the representatives of each country to decide whether or not they had the full information available to them, if not, they were free to carry out their own due diligence to help them come to a decision. Who knows, perhaps some delegates were already aware of the political affiliations and beliefs of all those elected and then cast their votes accordingly. 

The final point made by our reader highlights the need for greater diversity within the organisation, Congress has elected both men and women into positions of responsibility. Its not perfect, there is always more that could be done to address the balance. From what we already know about the political history of the ICSD and the barriers that limit Deaf people’s access to information and human rights, it would be fair to assume that many decision makers in the various levels and roles within the global ICSD framework do not adhere to nor uphold the concepts of inclusion, equality and diversity.

Let’s hope that those who have been elected remember always that they do not work FOR Kosa they work WITH him as an EQUAL and with all their other Executive colleagues who have been elected. If there are acts of discrimination by anyone affiliated to ICSD (officials, staff, technical directors, coaches and athletes etc) then it is expected that this will be called out for what it is and dealt with appropriately. 

Finally, the responsibility for electing the ICSD leadership is in the hands of those who vote at Congress (the national Deaf sport federation officials). Perhaps after reading this post, you want more information about the elections and how your national representatives voted. If you are a member of their organisations, you have a right to ask questions and be satisfied that Deaf sport leaders, all over the world are all practicing diversity, inclusion and equity in their approach to the development of Deaf sport.

As always, we respond to comments, questions etc from our readers – share your views with us here

Japan Withdraws Its Entire Team from the Summer Deaflympics

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