Will the IOC Sanctions on Russia affect the Deaflympics ?

The IOC Executive Board has laid down special rules for International Sports Federations to follow when deciding whether or not any Russian athlete can compete in their sport during the Rio Olympics. But what does this mean for the Deaflympics in 2017 – should the ICSD follow the same ruling as the IOC and IPC ? If so, does the doping system in place within the ICSD stand up to scrutiny – can it cope with such conditions ?

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First and foremost, the IOC has granted the ICSD membership into the Olympic Movement and therefore it should follow the decisions of the IOC Executive Board and apply the same sanctions to the Summer Deaflympics in 2017. If it cannot do this, then the ICSD must be held in contempt of a fundamental rule of the Olympic Charter to protect clean athletes and the integrity of sport.

It must apply these sanctions to the Deaflympics of 2017, because it is likely that the IOC sanctions will remain in place until the 2018 Winter Olympics at least.

The most compelling reason for applying IOC conditions on Russia is because their Deaflympic athletes are state-sponsored and thus by association are placed under suspicion to the same degree as their compatriots in the Olympic and Paralympic camps where some Deaflympic athletes share the same training facilities and coaches.

After deliberating, the IOC EB decided that it “will not accept any entry of any Russian athlete into the Olympic games in Rio 2016 unless the athlete can meet the conditions set out below.” (Decision of the IOC Executive Board)

2. Entry will be accepted by the IOC only if an athlete is able to provide evidence to the full satisfaction of his or her International Federation (IF) in relation to the following criteria:

• The IFs*, when establishing their pool of eligible Russian athletes, to apply the World Anti-Doping Code and other principles agreed by the Olympic Summit (21 June 2016).

• The absence of a positive national anti-doping test cannot be considered sufficient by the IFs. 

• The IFs should carry out an individual analysis of each athlete’s anti-doping record, taking into account only reliable adequate international tests, and the specificities of the athlete’s sport and its rules, in order to ensure a level playing field.  

• The IFs to examine the information contained in the IP Report, and for such purpose seek from WADA the names of athletes and National Federations (NFs) implicated. Nobody implicated, be it an athlete, an official, or an NF, may be accepted for entry or accreditation for the Olympic Games.

• The IFs will also have to apply their respective rules in relation to the sanctioning of entire NFs. 

It is going to be extremely difficult for the ICSD to apply the four criteria in condition 1. This is because very few Deaflympic athletes are subjected to out-of-competition testing. The lack of political support from national governments to apply equal status on all IOC, IPC and ICSD athletes means that there are no funds available within International Federations to subject Deaflympic athletes to testing.

But this cannot be a reason for the ICSD to claim that it cannot abide by the IOC Executive Board ruling because the second criteria above states that ‘The absence of a positive anti-doping test cannot be considered sufficient by the IF’ in other words, if Russian athletes have never been tested, then they cannot prove that they are clean because they are under suspicion as state-sponsored athletes.

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3. The ROC is not allowed to enter any athlete for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 who has ever been sanctioned for doping, even if he or she has served the sanction. 

Condition 3 can be applied, without appeal, all Russian Deaflympic athletes who have ever been sanctioned for doping should not be allowed to compete in the Summer Deaflympics, Samsun 2017. Furthermore, the ICSD should put in place measures to ensure that Russian athletes cannot bypass this ruling by trying to compete under a different name, this is something that can quite easily be done as we cannot trust the Russian Deaflympic officials not to do this as they have already been found guilty, by Russian courts of manipulating audiograms.

4. The IOC will accept an entry by the ROC only if the athlete’s IF is satisfied that the evidence provided meets conditions 2 and 3 above and if it is upheld by an expert from the CAS list of arbitrators appointed by an ICAS Member, independent from any sports organisation involved in the Olympic Games Rio 2016. 

The problem with condition 4 is that whilst Deaflympic sports compete under the rules and adaptations approved by their respective IF’s, there are International Deaf Sport Organisations who fall very well short of running a tight ship when it comes to following IF rules or managing competitions to IF standards or even knowing what ICAS is.

5. The entry of any Russian athlete ultimately accepted by the IOC will be subject to a rigorous additional out-of-competition testing programme in coordination with the relevant IF and WADA. Any non-availability for this programme will lead to the immediate withdrawal of the accreditation by the IOC. 

ICSD cannot afford out-of-competition testing, so it will have to play safe and not allow Russian athletes to compete. Unless of course the Russian state will provide the funds to ICSD to enable it to appoint non-Russian WADA officials to test its athletes.

To close, I put this challenge to the ICSD President Rukhledev:

Sir, you were appointed by the ICSD membership to ensure equality and integrity for Deaflympic sport within the Olympic Movement, I put it to you, that you should seek financial support from the Russian state to fully fund a full, global, in-and out of competition anti-doping programme of the ICSD indefinitely to be carried out by non-Russian laboratories. This act of support to the Deaflympic Movement might go some way to demonstrate to the world that you and your country take anti-doping seriously.

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The English Channel has a new conquerer!

With exactly a year to go to the opening ceremony for the 2017 Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey, former Great Britain deaf swimmer Andrew Rees has become the first deaf British swimmer to successfully complete a solo Channel swim.

News has been travelling so fast through social media and deaf networks that Two Big Ears have not had time to keep up! So,with permission,we are sharing the press release sent in by Margaret Baxter, Secretary, Great Britain Deaf Swimming Club, who takes up the story from here.

Andrew, who represented GB’s deaf swimming team in the 1990’s, set out from Dover yesterday morning, supported by his boat, the Louise Jane, and completed the swim in a little under 15 hours.

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Andrew Rees, Channel swimmer. Photo by Chris Ratcliffe.

 

Andrew, who is Welsh but lives in East Sussex, has trained with Brighton Swimming Club’s Sea Swimming Coach, Fiona Southwell, herself a successful channel swimmer. He has been preparing all season for this event, going to Majorca to train earlier in the year, and completing many hours of preparation. Under the rules of the Channel Swimming Association, he was allowed to wear a pair of ordinary swimming trunks, a hat and goggles to complete the gruelling endurance event, and has been on standby since 8th July, awaiting favourable conditions before being allowed to start his swim at Samphire Hoe Beach, near Dover, at 8am yesterday.

 

Andrew contacted GB Deaf Swimming Club earlier this year, asking if he could help to raise money for the club by being sponsored to swim the event, and the monies raised are to go towards providing financial support for the team that will be selected to swim for Great Britain next July in Turkey.

 

Deaf athletes receive little or no financial support from central Government or sporting bodies, and they have to raise the costs of competing for their country as well as training to be in peak condition for their events. For swimmers, this means that they will usually train, in the pool and the gym, for an average of 20 hours per week, with only a few days off for Christmas and Easter, and a short summer break, as well as completing school and university assignments and trying to raise funds in order to get to events. As an example, the cost of the last 3 major competitions (2015 World Deaf Swimming Championships in San Antonio, Texas, 2014 European Deaf Swimming Championships in Saransk, Russia, and 2013 Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria) has been over £6000 for each swimmer, before the cost of training at their local club, competition swimwear and associated costs are taken into account. Andrew’s sponsorship money will reduce the burden on them for the next games, and the club is indebted to him and to our previous epic endurance swimmers, the 5 Deaf Otters, a team of ladies who raised money for the club by swimming 5 ½ miles across Coniston Water in September 2015.

GB Deaf Swimming’s Chair, Brian Baxter, said this morning: “I would like to congratulate Andrew on the fantastic achievement of completing the Channel Swim solo, the first British Deaf swimmer to do so. This is a monumental coup, both on a personal level and especially for Deaf and hard of hearing swimmers. We are very grateful that he nominated GB Deaf Swimming Club as the chosen organisation for fund-raising purposes. The money he has raised will help our Deaflympic swimmers immensely, and his swim will also serve as an inspiration to them all.”

 

 

Other relevant links:

Andrew’s Channel Swim 2016 Facebook Page

Just Giving page

 

Enquiries:

Margaret Baxter

Secretary, GB Deaf Swimming Club

www.gbdeafswimming.org

Tel: 07713 739893, 01372 464761

 

Concerns for safety of Deaf sports officials in Turkey

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As events unfold tonight in Turkey and the army appears to be taking control, former president of the Deaflympics (ICSD) Craig Crowley has been the first to go public and announce his concerns for the Deaflympic family of Technical Directors of sport and Chef de Missions including those of his own at UK Deaf Sport who are inspecting next years facilities in Samsun on the northern coast of the country.

It would appear that the officials are putting their personal safety first and pulling out of the danger area.

Latest from the BBC

There has been increasing concern from international members of the Deaflympic movement that the ICSD has not been making any public statements in recent times to demonstrate that they are acting responsibly for the safety of Deaf athletes and the spectators who are expected in Turkey next summer.

 

 

Are Deaf Russian athletes still doping?

Craig Crowley MBE, Honorary President of UK Deaf Sport says he would still have doubts about Russian athletes at the 2016 Olympics/Paralympics and Deaf athletes in Samsun 2017 Deaflympics even if the country convinces athletics organisations that it should be allowed to compete in Rio and Samsun respectively.

With the latest comments from Russia’s new head coach of track and field, Two Big Ears has learnt from Craig Crowley, former Deaflympics President that the ban on Russian athletics from competing internationally also applies to individual athletes and teams competing in the Paralympics and Deaflympics. Crowley who lead the Deaflympic movement from 2009-2013 wants to see the ICSD Board place ‘drastic measures’ in place for Deaf athletes if Russia is cleared to compete in the future.

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Craig Crowley has doubts about the integrity of Deaf Russian athletes.

 

Whilst Yuri Borzakovsky, the all-Russia’s new head coach claims that his athletes are now clean, Crowley explained why he has his doubts and echoed the feeling of many who support and follow Deaf sport: “I’d be lying if I said we wouldn’t look at Russian Deaf athletes and think ‘is everything 100% OK?'”

‘The darkest place’

The independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently reported that “corruption was embedded” within athletics’s governing body, the IAAF – whose senior officials have been accused of helping to cover up doping in Russia.

“There is obviously a lot more to come out and it seems to be getting worse and worse,”

“It is awful to see but at the same time you have to think that athletics sport has to go through this really terrible time.

“It has to go to the very bottom, to the darkest place for it to then rise and come out the other side.”

Crowley added: “I believe it is very close [to the bottom].

“You put your trust and confidence in organisations to make sure the sport is governed well – but obviously that hasn’t been the case. It needs to be addressed and it is a huge problem.”

Related posts :

Doping in Deaf sport not transparent say critics.

ICSD Executive Officials Guilty of Falsifying Audiograms

Russian doping: Our athletes are now clean, says new head coach

For a more in-depth examination of the Deaflympics, its origins, politics and challenges read Same Spirit Different Team

Saluting the 15th anniversary of the word ‘Deaflympics’

As the world celebrates the upcoming 15th anniversary of the word Deaflympics, we look at the issues behind the use of this word in the sporting monopoly run by the International Olympic Committee.

During Deaf Awareness Week, here in the UK, it is important to acknowledge that fifteen years ago this month – May 16th, 2001. The International Olympic Committee formally wrote to the CISS giving them permission to use the brand ‘Deaflympics’ in association with what was then the largest multi-sports event in the world for a single disabled group.

Deaflympics 2009

Photo by: Sam Perkins

There has been misinformation that creates misconceptions about the use of the word Deaflympics. Some writers have re-written history by saying that the Deaf broke away from the IPC in the mid 1990s and set up their own Deaflympics. The real facts are that the olympic-format for Deaf sport began in Paris in 1924 as the International Silent Games, since then it has changed branding from World Games for the Deaf to World Deaf Games and now Deaflympics. The Deaflympic Movement reaches its 90th Anniversary this summer.

As soon as the IOC authorised the name change to Deaflympics in 2001, there were some surprises in store. National Deaf Sports Committees began think about changing their own names – the Russians got there first with their equivalent title of Russian Deaflympic Committee – you would think that was such a common-sense thing to do, to bring it into line with other Olympic Movement representatives such as the National Olympic Committees and the National Paralympic Committees.

Unfortunately, the IOC wrote immediately to the CISS ordering the Russians to remove their new title as they were in breach of the IOC/CISS agreement which did not permit derivatives of the word Deaflympics.  The derivatives;  ‘Deaflympic Committee”, “Deaflympian” etc are not permitted.

The IOC lodged a trademark challenge against the organisers of the 2005 Deaflympics  for using the name “Deaflympic Games”. Fortunately, Kevan Gospar, Australian IOC member stepped in to allow the name to stand.

The monopoly of the IOC/IPC has created many difficulties for the ICSD (International Committee of Sport for the Deaf) and its national federations, causing confusion and discord.

The  23rd Summer Deaflympics will be hosted by Sansun, Turkey in June 2017. Meanwhile, athletes and teams will be preparing by competing in regional and World championships.

I hope that through this short piece today, I have used Deaf Awareness week to raise some of the issues facing Deaf sport here in the UK and elsewhere around the world and I ask everyone to give their support to UK Deaf Sport in whatever way they can.

Doping in Deaf sport not transparent say critics.

According to an article in Parasport News, the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf (ICSD) who govern the Deaflympics have been substandard when it comes to reporting on doping violations by Deaf athletes.

The full article from Parasport can be read here.

ICSD rules say that when doping cheats are found out, the results will be advertised on the ICSD website – according to the Parasport article, this has never been done.

Since 1986, a total of 370 Paralympic, Deaflympic and disability sport cheats have been caught – but only 28 have been Deaf and all except two were discovered during the Summer and Winter Deaflympic Games.

The nationalities of the 28 athletes are 5 unknown, 1 German and 22 Russians. The ICSD has not published the names of these athletes, this breaches its own rules in article 14.4:

“The ICSD shall publish at least annually a general statistical report of its Doping Control; activities, with a copy provided to WADA. The ICSD may also publish reports showing the name of each athlete tested and the date of each testing.”

This makes it difficult for competition organisers in Deaf World Championships and regional championships to know who has been banned – because the names are not published according to article 14.4.

The greater concern is that doping is not carried out during World Championship and regional events – so it is likely that many more doping athletes are going undetected.

It is of no surprise that the IOC and other international sports bodies will not take Deaf sport seriously because this lack of transparency does not make officials feel confident about the reliability of Deaf sport to run its events to the highest standards.

It can be argued that of ICSD had done their job properly, delegates at the ICSD Congress in 2013 may not have elected the Russians to run their organisation if they knew that in 2009 and 2010 a total of 15 out of 16 athletes caught cheating were Russian.

This alarming lack of oversight on Doping Control means that the  ICSD Executive Committee has allowed Russian athletes to compete in recent Athletics events organised under IAAF rules despite a worldwide ban in the sport of Athletics. The ICSD Athlete Representative Dean Barton-Smith has had no reply from the ICSD to his written concerns about this.

The same goes for Audiogram cheating; event after being found guilty by a Russian court of law for falsifying audiograms, the ICSD Chief Executive still remains in post. Two Big ears has reported on this previously.

When will Deaf sport wake up and challenge the ICSD Executive about this ?

 

 

The Sporting Pedigree of “You Can Do It! The FYD Story”

The launch of You Can Do It ! The FYD Story has been successful, the first order of books has sold out and we are going to re-print as fast as we can.

Stuart R Harrison & Morag Rosie

Stuart R Harrison & Morag Rosie

The background to my collaboration with Morag Rosie is very interesting, not in the least that she comes from a family with a powerful sporting pedigree. Her father, James MacLean was a professional footballer with Cardiff City. 

James MacLean, Cardiff City FC

James MacLean, Cardiff City FC

Morag  competed nationally in deaf sports competitions and she was successful at first with swimming, badminton and then table tennis. She competed right up until she started a family and sports became a lifelong hobby.

Her eldest daughter Fiona is a successful Deaflympian having competed in both badminton and tennis. She won two silver medals for mixed doubles and singles badminton at the 1985 Los Angeles World Games. More recently, she was Chef de Mission of the GB Deaflympic team in Sofia 2013. Her own daughter Bethany has also followed in her Mother’s sporting footsteps to the Deaflympics and Deaf Tennis World Championships earlier this year.

The FYD story makes several references to the brainchild of Morag and her colleagues at FYD/Breakthrough – Communication Through Sport (CTS). Using sport as a mechanism for developing sucessful partnerships between deaf and hearing people.

UK Deaf Sport Trustee Piers Martin, Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch MP, Craig Crowley MBE.

UK Deaf Sport Trustee Piers Martin, Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch MP, Craig Crowley MBE.

One of those to benefit from CTS is former President of the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf, Craig Crowley, who has been proactive this afternoon by meeting the  UK government Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch MP. The recognition of the Deaflympics was a primary item on their agenda. Craig was accompanied by UK Deaf Sport Trustee, Piers Martin.

If you have a couple of minutes, you can watch Fiona in action as C.de M. at the  Sofia Deaflympics, commenting on the performance of her daughter Bethany who was competing in the tennis competition !