Samsun, Turkey is the city in which the 23rd Summer Deaflympics will be staged in what is sure to be a spectacle of high performance deaf sport. The games will run from the 18 to the 30 July 2017.
The Deaflympics is the pinnacle for any deaf athlete and it is the second oldest multi-sport and cultural festival in the world, with a proud history stretching back to the first Games in Paris, in 1924. The event ensures that high performance athletes with a hearing impairment get that same Olympic experience as their hearing counterparts.
In recent years, Scotland has a history of producing top level athletes with the ability to represent Great Britain at the prestigious event. The 2017 Games is no different, with Scotland having 10 athletes representing the country, across four sports
Danielle Joyce – Swimming
Jack McComish – Swimming
Shiona McLafferty – Swimming
John Ruddy – Athletics
Mitchell Graham – Athletics
Stuart Cameron – Football Men
PJ Dolan – Football Men
Olivia Preston – Football Women
Rachel Mallard – Football Women
Steven Cafferety – Golf
DeaflympicGB will be hopeful that they can improve on their disappointing medal haul from the Games four years ago, and in Danielle Joyce and Jack McComish, they have two athletes that represent strong medal prospects. The pair will be hoping to build upon their success at the 2015 World Deaf Swimming Championships, where they delivered seven medals between them; Danielle clinching gold in the 100m freestyle.
The BBC recently released a documentary profiling some of the athletes that will be competing and it can be found following the link below:
The following websites and Twitter feeds will be useful in order to follow the athletes’ progress at the Games:
Deaflympics and the Paralympic Movement
Why can’t Deaf Athletes join the Paralympics?*
There is currently no Paralympic category for athletes who are only Deaf and have no other physical or learning impairment. The Paralympic Games already faces strict limit on the number of competitors, meaning it wouldn’t be able to absorb such a large number. To include, would mean a reduction in some of the other classification groups that already exist. Furthermore, it would consequently result in a reduction of performance athletes, across impairment groups, competing at the highest level.
There is overwhelming support amongst the deaf community to have a separate Games as many deaf people do not consider themselves disabled. Athletes who are deaf are able-bodied and able to compete without significant restrictions, with the exception of communication barriers.
It is possible for Deaf athletes to compete in the Olympics Games and do so based on their ability to compete at the highest level of mainstream sport, without any adaptions, modifications or rule changes.
*Information summarised from UK Deaf Sport