UK Deaf Sport calls on ICSD and EDSO to show their condemnation of the Invasion of Ukraine.

Today, Great Britain has called on its international bodies of deaf sport to follow the same decisions as the IOC, IPC and other International Sports Federations.

UK Deaf Sport is a member of the EDSO European Deaf Sport Organisation and the ICSD International Committee of Sport for the Deaf.

How will ICSD now follow the IPC and IOC decision making?

Today the IPC announced that Russia and Belarus can compete at the Winter Paralympics as neutral athletes. Whilst no decisions or statements have been made by the Brazilian and Russian-led ICSD. It is anyone guess which way they will move.

In a statement today, the International Paralympic Committee have announced that the RPC and NPC Belarus will participate as neutrals at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. They will compete under the Paralympic flag and not be included in the medal table.

The IPC will host an Extraordinary General Assembly in 2022 “to vote on whether to make compliance with the Olympic Truce a membership requirement and whether to suspend or terminate membership of the Russian and Belarus Paralympic Committees”.

The IPC will not hold any events in Russia or Belarus until further notice.

The ICSD has yet to make a statement, its CEO and staff are Russian, based in Moscow and the registered office is in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The ICSD and IPC presidents are both Brazilian and it is quite possible that ICSD’s Gustavo may follow Andrew Parsons (IPC) and be influenced by the ICSD CEO to go gentle on Russia and Belarus. Brazil are due to host the 2022 Summer Deaflympics in May.

Alisher Usmanov has stepped down as President of the International Fencing Federation, after the European Union imposed economic sanctions on him over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The World Curling Federation has removed the European Championships from Russia. World Athletics, FIFA and International Biathlon Union are amongst sports who have imposed bans.

The global Deaf community has been vocal about the invasion of Ukraine, the World Athletics and Federation of the Deaf has shown its solidarity and support to the Ukraine Federation of the Deaf.

Helga Stevens, former European Member of Parliament commented on social media that she is curious to see what ICSD will do after the world of sport has joined forces to stand by Ukraine. She hopes that ICSD will follow the examples set by the IOC and IPC.

As far as we can see, as we go to press, there have been no statements or decision making from any of the ICSD regional federations, their national members nor associate members.

Comments have been made on social media that the ICSD has been removing comments and posts that mention the invasion on Ukraine.

Will Russia be welcome to the World Deaf Curling Championships ?

Russia is scheduled to compete at the Curling event on 12th -26th March 2022. Will travel restrictions stop them or will the event organisers make a symbolic decision?

Jonathan Guinta, ICSD Technical Director for Curling, who is involved in hosting the upcoming World Deaf Curling Championships, in Banff, Alberta not far from his home city of Calgary must be wondering what to do next.

The preliminary list of attending countries includes Russia (RCDS) and Ukraine.

Will the competition organisers make a statement/decision following the advice of the International Olympic Committee that requests a ban on Russian and Belarusians competing internationally.

Brazilian President and the Deaflympic Sport Federation has yet to condemn Putin’s war on Ukraine.

Media channels are reporting that Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro will not condemn Putin’s war on Ukraine.

Whilst the IOC and several international sports federations are now sanctioning Russian and Belarusian athletes and sports teams from competing in competitions, Bolsonaro has openly mocked the Ukrainian president and remains neutral about the atrocities taking place in Ukraine.

This must be embarrassing for the ICSD who have given Brazil the right to host this years Summer Deaflympics in Caxias du Sol, Southern Brazil. The federation of deaf sport and its regional members have still not spoken out in support of the Deaflympic community in Ukraine.

Perhaps the Deaflympic community of the world believes that the whole thing is a problem for hearing people and hearing sport so they have nothing to do with it. Perhaps the Deaflympics should be left alone, in isolation?

Currently, the IOC has withheld funding from the ICSD due to financial and constitutional concerns within the organisation, perhaps the ICSD Board think they do not need to comply with IOC requests? They have done this in the past, when the IOC and IPC took action over Russian anti-doping violations, the ICSD claimed that it was not directly affected and took no action

Are Deaflympic athletes going to turn away from what is happening to their fellow competitors in Ukraine, and be happy to spend their hard earn money on flights and accommodation in a country where the president mocks the bravery of another leader who stands on the ground with his own people in the face of an illegal and unjustified invader?

Will Deaflympians speak out or will all the media images, air raid sirens, loud bombs and screams fall on deaf ears?

Will ICSD listen to the request of the IOC?

The International Olympic Committee have asked all International sports federations to stop flying the flags of Russia and Belarus at sporting events.

Federations are being asked to cancel all planned sports events in Russia and Belarus or move them to alternative venues..

Leading figures have condemned the attack by Russia and are offering their support to members of the sporting communities in Ukraine.

The European Union governments are uniting in their condemnation and placing sanctions on key people and organisations in Russia and Belarus. As the representative of ICSD in Europe, the EDSO have yet to show their hand.

The ICSD is an international Federation. Will they comply?

Chef de Missions Technical Inspection of Caxias Do Sul

Earlier this month, some national representatives inspected the facilities and venues of the 24th Summer Deaflympics.

With less than 4 months remaining, the organisers of the Summer Deaflympics have released videos and pictures on their social media pages to inform of the preparations

Extract from Video Introduction

The Technical Congress of the 24th edition of the Summer Deaflympics was held at UCS Teatro. The event was attended by international delegates representing participating countries, as well as technical directors of the International Committee on Sports for the Deaf (ICSD).

The meeting had plenary sessions, discussions and presentation of the competition manual book in Caxias do Sul – a reference for the delegations. Visits were also made to the game facilities, such as competition venues, training camps and the organization's headquarters, in the Festa da Uva pavilions.

The Summer Deaflympics take place from May 1st to 15th this year, in Caxias do Sul.

Caxias 2022 Responds to Covid-19 Concerns

Following concerns ICSD members, Caxias 2022 Organising Committee have issued provisional plans for safeguarding Deaflympic athletes against the Coronavirus.

International news sources have been highlighting the political stance of Brazilian President Bolsonaro and his unconventional attitudes towards tacking Covid-19, this has raised concerns from ICSD members that the Caxias 2022 organisers will not be able to provide adequate Covid security for athletes and officials attending next year’s 24th Summer Deaflympics in Caxias do Sul in Southern Brazil.

Local Organising Committee CEO Richard Douglas Ewald and his team have issued health safety protocols for participants in an attempt to reassure people that it will be safe to attend the games without getting infected. Because of the constant change in the impact of the virus, the protocols are issued as if ‘the competition would be today’ and a final decision on protocol will be issued on 20th March 2022.

-ICSD

What are the Safeguards?

The protocols currently in place state that ten days before departure, Chef de Missions must send a list of all participants who have been vaccinated at least 2 weeks before departure and everyone must have proof of negative PCR results 72 hours prior to departure.

Travel instructions direct teams to travel to a regional airport Porto Alegre Salgado Filho International Airport where everyone will have to test negative on a Rapid Antigen test before receiving a Welcome Pack and transportation to the Accreditation centre in Caxias do Sul.

Anyone who tests positive in the Rapid Antigen test or has been unable to get PCR tested before travel (or claim to have lost proof of tests in transit) will, at their own expense, have to take a PCR test upon arrival at the airport and be held in isolation until the result is issued. If they test negative, they can travel on to Caxias. Anyone testing positive will be referred to hospital for treatment following Brazilian medical protocols.

Travellers without a valid vaccination Certificate will be quarantined for 5 days in the ‘final destination city’ and then they will have to produce a negative PCR test at the end of isolation otherwise they will be referred to hospital for treatment.

There are further special rules for people originating or passing through South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe. (No details were given in the protocol) it can be reasonably assumed this may related to the Omicron variant.

Will this information satisfy Chef de Missions?

Chef de Missions, Medical and security officers will now examine the content of the protocol and determine whether this gives them reassurance that their athletes and officials will be Covid secure.

One possible question that will need to be answered will be the concern of cross contamination between athletes of different nations who are likely to board planes taking the domestic route to the local airport and then how are they going to ensure that there is further protections from those athletes/officials who will have been unvaccinated whilst everyone is waiting in the arrivals terminal, for example, to collect personal belongings at the luggage carousel and then in the airport when waiting to be tested.

Proposed location of Deaflympic Square – Caxias (picture from caxias.rs.gov.br )

There is a second Travel Package communication declaring that five days before the Opening Ceremony special buses will be laid on to transport accredited persons from their hotels to a central transit and information point which has been named Deaflympic Square which will be accessible by accredited persons for central information and also serve as a transport exchange hub between the sports venues.

There is no further information explaining how athletes and officials will be safeguarded against infections by the local population. The Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games protocols strictly forbade any ‘tourism’, sightseeing or shopping by athletes in order to protect their health. There was no ‘hanging around’ after their events had concluded as people travelled home immediately afterwards. Reading the Travel Package clearly shows that athletes will be housed in local hotels and they will be have access to a sightseeing and shopping app which suggests that there are currently no plans to further isolate anyone once they have tested negative on arrival at the local airport.

Update on ICSD Court Case

As promised we are keeping you updated as much as possible with the developments of the court case brought by Ms Rebecca Adam concerning the ICSD Extraordinary Congress.

We understand that at the time of going to press the court case scheduled for tomorrow 22nd December has been postponed until January 28th 2022.

Irena Farinacci , volunteer administration support for the ICSD Board said that they were not sure of the reason for the change of dates and it was unexpected.

Switzerland at Christmas : WallpaperAccess.

We will keep in touch with Irena and updated you as soon as we have something to share.

If you are new to this topic you can catch up here.

ICSD Extraordinary Congress to be Challenged in Court

ICSD Extra Ordinary Congress actions and decisions should be null and void according to Rebecca Adam and Marijo Lusic

In a communication released yesterday by the ICSD Secretariat, it was announced that Rebecca Adam is taking ICSD to court in Lausanne, Switzerland on 22 December to argue that decisions and actions taken at the 48th ICSD Extraordinary Congress are null and void.

Details of the challenge available here

The case is being heard in a Swiss court because ICSD is registered in that country.

ICSD are preparing their defence with guidance from their Legal Commission and a local attorney.

We will bring you updates on this story as they unfold.

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