What can Deaf sports expect from the new ICSD Leadership

Two Big Ears examines what’s inside the in-tray of the new leadership at ICSD and what are members expecting to happen.

The recent ICSD Congress in September 2022 elected a new governing board which is now led by President, Adam Kosa (Hungary) & Vice President World Sports, Yutaka Osugi (Japan).

ICSD President Adam Kosa

Members have banked on Kosa’s relevant experience as a Deaflympian, Member of the European Parliament and board member of the Hungarian Paralympic Committee to bring a steady, diplomatic and stable leadership to ICSD which has endured almost 10 years of unsteadiness, tactlessness and unpredictability.

There is an expectation that Kosa and Osugi will request an opportunity to meet with the International Paralympic Committee and discuss opportunties for positive partnerships and a closer relationship. Unlike the previous elected incumbent Rukhledev whose opinion was to stay away from the IPC and expect them to come running to his door.

We are already witnessing signs of professionalism and orderliness coming from the Secretariat, issuing notices for elections to the various Commissions (Anti-Doping, Audiology, Legal, Sports and Women in Sport). Information about the opening hours of business and best times for communications.

They have written decisive and timely reminders to International Deaf Sports Federations that due to the war in Ukraine, Belarusian athletes, coaches and managers are not permitted to compete in ICSD sanctioned events, Deaflympics and World Championships. It would appear that some organisers have still not understood the ‘news’ and have needed to be told twice.

Perhaps Kosa and Osugi can explain why they have decided to hold on to Dmitry Rebrov as CEO despite being guilty of one of the worst acts of Deaf sport criminality; the falsification of athletes audiograms in order to get them banned from European competitions.

There is also a high expectation that the 2025 Summer Deaflympics will benefit from the legacy of hosting Olympic/Paralympics in 2020 and the leadership of Osugi who has been a prominent leader in Japanese Deaf sport for two decades. Will Kosa and his team ensure that the games have a solid backing by government ministries, sound financials and that nothing is left to the last minute – which has been the norm by ICSD with very few exceptions. The Games will also give ICSD the opportunity to celebrate the upcoming 100th Anniversary of the Deaflympic Games in 2024.

That’s all for the short term, but what is Kosa’s vision for the long term? Perhaps you, our Big Ears readers might like to make comments below?

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.