One more important event will be held before the start of the XVIII Winter Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk — on March’26-27 the capital of Ugra is hosting the Congress of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) that will take place in the building of Ugra Chess Academy and involve participants from 70 countries. Read more for details in the article of Sportbox.ru.
The Deaflympic movement has a long history and old traditions. It was established in the end of XIX century, the first Games were held in 1924 — this were the second international complex competitions after the Olympic Games. The officials of ICSD were working hard on popularizing Deaflympic movement and increasing the number of participating countries and athletes.
But just 4 years ago all of this seemed to be on the blink of collapse. Winter Deaflympics 2011 in Slovakia were cancelled, and then Vancouver refused to host Deaflympics 2015. Summer Deaflympics 2013 were initially planned to be held in Athens, then in Budapest and finally the competitions took place in Sofia. The former head of ICSD Craig Crowley from Great Britain despite of his big experience could not solve this situation of crisis. This was not a surprise that on ICSD Congress in Bulgaria the head of ICSD was changed and Valery Rukhledev became the new president of the organization.
— I was often telling the former executives that we have chosen the wrong way, — says he. — We had very little communication with International Olympic Committee. The sport of deaf children was also not popularized. Some national federations in Africa were down and out – they didn’t have any support from their governments.
That is why from the first day of his work as the President Valery Rukhledev started to improve communication with International Olympic Committee and its head Thomas Bach and it was a success in many aspects. The juridical form of the deaf sport is also needed to be changed. This will be the main issue on the ICSD Congress that will be held in Khanty-Mansiysk.
— We are making a new draft of the Constitution of ICSD that will include all the slightest details, – says Rukhledev, – all the proposals will be discussed and forwarded to our lawyers. We will get back to them on the Executive Committee meeting and on the Congress, and the final decision will be made before Summer Deaflympics 2017. The international deaf sport needs to be changed. This document is our main goal. Previously, we were treated as sports for amateurs.
The content of the new Constitution is not published yet, however, leaders of Deaflympic movement are sure that this will be a new era of deaf sports.
According to Rukhledev, the main priority for the committee is to sign a memorandum of understanding with IOC like the one signed between IOC and the Paralympic Committee. This will make possible to rename ICSD into the International Deaflympic Committee.
— There were some attempts of renaming before, my predecessors were not able to present this idea to IOC in the right way, to tell them the history of deaf sport я, — reminds Rukhledev. — On the working meeting dedicated to making “ the Olympic agenda 2020” I asked my colleagues: Has anyone of you visited the Olympic Games? There wasn’t any positive answer. It’s not possible to size up the level of the Games and its correspondence with Olympic principles without watching them. Representatives of IOC headed by Sam Ramsamy, Chair of the Sport for all Commission will come to Khanty-Mansiysk. They will also take part in the Congress.
Besides, the executive board plans to change the legal address and the country of residence. At the moment the headquarters of ICSD are placed in Washington, USA but soon it will be replaced to Switzerland.
— We have asked the governmental authorities of Switzerland to provide us with an office in Lausanne, — says the head of ICSD. — Some main international sport organizations are placed there, including IOC. We need to keep in a constant touch with our colleagues – to improve communication with Olympic movement is one of our biggest goals.
In addition to global questions, the Congress will also deal with some minor issues. For example, candidate countries for hosting future Deaflympics as well as World Championships will be discussed. It is already known that Summer Deaflympics 2017 will be held in Samsun, Turkey; Winter Deaflympics 2019 will take place in Torino, Italy. Spain, Canada and the Great Britain have showed their interest in hosting Deaflympics 2021. It is not impossible that Russia will also try to gain the honor to host some future Deaflympics. Perhaps, new countries with join ICSD. At the moment the Committee includes 108 member-countries. 12 or 13 more countries are candidates for becoming members of ICSD. Delegates will discuss the perspectives of cultivating deaf sport, the financial report and other issues. Then the attention of audience will be turned from officials to athletes – on the next day after the end of the Congress, the official Opening Ceremony of the Winter Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk will take place.