Report from Sports Director

By Josef Willmerdinger

I attended the 13th World Deaf Martial Arts Championships in Toulouse, France, from 22nd – 26th May 2008. The Martial Arts Championships include Judo, Karate and Taekwondo.

These Championships belonged to the IMAFD (International Martial Art Federation of the Deaf) in former times. These Championships from 22nd – 26th May 2008 are the first games which are carried out by ICSD. Unfortunately, the IMAFD is currently unable to carry out the championships because only one member of IMAFD-President Francesco FARAONE, Italy, is actively involved with the IMAFD. It is possible that the IMAFD will no longer be active.

Our ICSD Technical Director, Damien ANTOINE, France, is responsible for Judo’ ICSD TD Francois KHALEF, France, is responsible for Karate; and ICSD TD Jung- bae PARK, Korea, is in charge of Taekwondo.

The strong participation of 20 countries and over 144 Athletes is very positive. This is a new record. There were many good and interesting competitions and I think we can face the future with good championships.

I want to thank David LANESMAN, ICSD Vice-President, Isabelle MALAURIE, Ex-President of FSSF (Federation Sportive des Sourds de France- now disbanded) and the 3 ICSD TDs Damien ANTOINE, Francois KHALEF and Jung- bae PARK for their good cooperation.

There were many difficulties in reference to communication between the hearing Organizing Committee (OC) and the deaf people. Despite all problems, there was a good end with the athletes bringing home many positive achievements.

Shortly the Deaf Martial Arts Championships in Toulouse, I visited the 1st World Deaf Table Tennis Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 31st May to 9th June 2008. The Technical Director of Table Tennis, Zsolt NYIRO, showed very good work. The large number of participants in these Championships was a positive surprise because next year will be the Summer Deaflympics in Taiwan.

A total of 130 athletes from 22 countries attended. Altogether there were 17 men’s and 10 women’s teams. Due to the great achievements of all countries we can contently look forward to the future and look for additional success.

From 2nd – 12th July 2008 the 1st World Deaf Football Championships took place in Patras ,Greece. 5 women’s and 15 men’s teams participated. Only the German, Russian and British team were able to send both women and men teams. Unfortunately, there were many difficulties resulting from the hearing Organizing Committee (OC) because they had not prepared their tasks, like transport and training plans which were very bad. It resulted in a lot of trouble and a mess. We were very taken aback by the OC’s lack of preparation because in the last 10 years the Greek deaf people have organized over 6 huge events with excellent results. Many officials from all over the world can affirm this fact. I am very impressed with the deaf volunteers, the deaf and hearing interpreters and their enormous work. Their hard work and diligence deserve praise and respect. All of the teams deserve appreciation for the exciting and unforgettable games. The women of Russia won and deserved the world Championship title against a strong German women’s team. Despite the enormous heat, the women played well and played fair. Congratulations. In the end the men’s teams from Germany and Turkey were in the final round. Until the very end there were suspenseful scenes and many beautiful goals with a final and dramatic penalty shootout. Finally a happy Germany won a well-deserved victory against the unhappy and strong Turkish men. I want to sum up briefly that the achievement in football from both the men and women (with exception of a few) were at a top level.

I have to say that there were many problems with the referees because often times they didn’t referee neutral and impartial. In future we should be willing to employ the best and most experienced referees. Likewise we have to guarantee safety in the stadium for all athletes and fans.

A reminder to all Technical Directors who will carry out an inspection tour from 4th – 11th October 2008:
Please prepare yourself and know the regulations exactly and correctly so that every sport and venue is evaluated at the most current level. If there are questions please contact us. It is important to eliminate all questions and uncertainties because we want to present the games in Taiwan without any problems.

Also a short word about Audiograms:
There continues to be problems with the audiograms. Every time I come to a World Championship like in Toulouse, Sofia, Patras, there are difficulties that are related to the audiogram. Please have a close look at the regulations. If you have any questions please ask our staff for information BEFORE the events, not on site when it is too late. It is extremely annoying and unfair for the athletes who travel long distances to the competitions and then to hear on site that they are not able to participate. This is because the Deaf Sport Federations handle the audiogram very late or because they are unaware or do not read the regulations of the audiogram. If there is no audiogram, the athlete cannot take part in the competitions. Therefore I ask all of you to study the regulations of audiogram exactly so that we can avoid unnecessary trouble in future.

Finally I wish all of you good luck and a nice and relaxing summertime.

Josef WILLMERDINGER
ICSD Sports Director