Will Russians be banned from the 2017 Deaflympics?

This afternoon, the International Paralympic Committee banned the entire Russian team from competing in next month’s Paralympic Games in Rio.

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Sir Philip Craven (photo sportanddev.org)

Sir Philip Craven, IPC President said: “Tragically this situation is not about athletes cheating a system, but about a State-run system that is cheating the athletes. The doping culture that is polluting  Russian sport stems from the Russian government and has now been uncovered in not one but two independent reports commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.” Full statement

Will the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf follow suit and make a decision to exclude Russian athletes from competing at the 2017 Deaflympics in Turkey next summer?

On 25th July, we commented on the need for ICSD to consider and follow actions taken by others in the IOC family. Whilst many would consider the IOC decision making not robust enough to stem doping, we feel that the IPC decision to enforce a blanket ban on the Russian team to be the right action to take.

The ICSD does not have the finances and resources in place to enforce anti-doping and therefore it is highly likely that cheating is taking place at the Deaflympics. The Russian Deaflympic officials are not shy about cheating, they have been taken to court for falsifying an audiogram of one of their wrestlers. They cannot be trusted with the task of Executive control of the ICSD and the Deaflympic Games.

As we reported on 27th April this year, the ICSD has not published the names of Deaf athletes who returned positive doping tests on its website. This is the responsibility of the Chief Executive – a Russian, most of the athletes who would be on this list are – Russian.

It is now time for the ICSD Board to take back control of the Deaflympic movement, suspend its President Valery Rukhledev and Dimitry Rebrov, its Chief Executive at the very least and restore some confidence amongst its membership.

Two Big Ears calls upon representatives of ICSD national federations to unite and demand that the ICSD Board take action. Do not allow the Russians to ignore your concerns for a second time, do not let the Russians dismiss you so easily as they did last year.

 

 

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Deaflympic Congress votes to ignore fraudulent behaviour of the Russians.

Last week, at the 45th Congress of the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf, a proposal to discuss concerns about the Russia Committee of Deaf Sport (RCDS) being found guilty (by a Russian Court of Law) of submitting fraudulent audiograms was turned down and effectively ignored.

When put to a vote, 33 delegates were in favour of action, 5 against and 12 abstained. The motion needed 41 votes to gain a majority of 75% to proceed in accordance with the ICSD Constitution.

Staff employed by the RCDS falsified audiograms in 2011 to discredit an athlete. They were found guilty in a Russian Court of Law and another Court also overturned their subsequent appeal in 2014. Dimitry Rebrov, the current Chief Executive Officer of the ICSD, submitted the audiogram and Valery Rukhledev, now President of ICSD, was President of RCDS at the time.

The act of RCDS officials submitting fraudulent audiograms is on a par with Olympic officials submitting fraudulent doping specimens or test results or Paralympic officers submitting fraudulent disability classification assessments.

This raises the question; Do the 12 national representatives at the ICSD Congress who abstained actually understand the implications of the case? Was something amiss in translation? Did the proposers allocate sufficient time to ensure that everyone had read or understood their concerns?

When random testing in carried out at the Deaflympics, athletes whose hearing loss does not meet the audiogram standards are dismissed from competitions immediately. Job done.

But when a national federation is found guilty by a Court of Law of deliberately submitting a false audiogram to discredit an athlete – nothing is done.

Something is not right.

ICSD Executive Officials Guilty of Falsifying Audiograms

How many Deaf athletes are guilty of falsifying their audiograms?

The BBC recently stated that a German TV documentary claims that 99% of Russian athletes are guilty of doping. You can find a link to this report at the end of this post.

The TV documentary is another investigation about Russian officials systematically accepting payments from athletes to supply banned substances and cover up tests. Not surprisingly, the Russian Athletic Federation (RAF) says the allegations are ‘lies’. The IAAF and WADA say they are investigating; hopefully they will be thorough.

Now, we mention this because in Deaf sport, it is the audiograms which are sacrosanct – falsifying an audiogram is as serious as it gets, just as ‘doping’ gives athletes an advantage, submitting a false audiogram to pretend that you are Deaf enough to compete in Deaf sport and the Deaflympics is cheating.

Does Audiogram cheating occur in Deaf sport? At the Deaflympics there are WADA anti-doping tests and random Audiogram testing to catch out the cheats. This happens at every Deaflympics, and it is a good thing, because it shows that the ICSD are vigilant about audiograms and the Deaflympic Movement values the inviolability of the Olympic Code as we compete under the banner of the ICSD and IOC.

More often than not in doping and audiogram checks, it is athletes who are caught out and banned, but occasionally coaches and officials are too. But what about a member of a National Olympic Committee or indeed a high –level member of staff at the IOC, what would happen if they cheated by falsifying information, would they be given a ban? Yes, indeed, we expect they would, just as IOC members are stripped of their membership for accepting bribes etc.

Unfortunately, most unfortunately, this type of cheating and cover up is occurring right now at the highest levels of the ICSD. I have read information that the Russian Deaf Sports Confederation (RDSC) was found guilty of falsifying audiograms. I have seen legal Moscow Court documents, supplied by a Russian Deaflympic wrestler Eugene Golovanov, showing that the RDSC have been ordered to pay compensation to him as the court ruled that the RDSC falsified his audiogram in order to discredit him. As well as making compensation payments, the RDSC were also ordered by the court to issue a public statement vindicating the wrestler. The falsification of the audiogram took place in 2011.

RDSC immediately appealed against the decision, which they eventually lost in early 2014. According to my correspondence with Mr Golovanov he has still not received the compensation and he continues to meet resistance form the RDSC to allow him to compete.

Dmitry Rebrov is the man who submitted the false audiogram in 2011 and “strongly urged” ICSD administrators to check the details. After the RDSC had been taken to court, they continued to keep Mr Rebrov in office as they defied the court order and lodged their appeal.

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Photo: Dimitry Rebrov, who submitted a falsified audiogram to the ICSD in 2011.

 Following his appointment as President of ICSD in 2013, Mr Rukhledev personally appointed Rebrov as interim CEO of ICSD and then recently, he was awarded the job permanently and presumably, with the approval of the ICSD Executive. Today, the Deaflympic Movement is lead by its Chief Executive who has been caught behaving in the most malicious way imaginable. This situation of leadership and management is untenable, as Rebrov and the RDSC have still not compensated Eugene Golovanov and shielded this scandal from public knowledge until now.

The problem highlighted by this case, is that National Federations who are trying to win medals are also responsible for the audiograms of their athletes. This is a clear conflict of interest and vulnerable to abuse as we have seen with the RDSC.

ICSD should consider setting up an anti-doping AND audiogram commission to ensure checks are taking place independently and impartial in respective member countries – with what we know already about the Russians, there is doubt that they would push for this to happen.

BBC Report “Russian Doping claims: 99% of athletes guilty, German TV alleges.”  http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/athletics/30324812