Many people across the UK were not aware whilst watching the wonderful achievements of Paralympic athletes at London 2012 that the event does not have any categories of competition for athletes whose only disability is deafness. It is true that deaf people will have competed at the games but they will have been there through another classification. The media perception of the Paralympics encapsulating all disabilities is a misconception. However this separation of deaf athletes from the Paralympics has much wider reaching implications as government policy for sport has prioritised funding toward this showcase event at the expense of the thousands of deaf athletes across the country.The pinnacle of many deaf athletes’ careers is to represent their country in the Deaflympics
. This worldwide multi sports event is the second oldest multi sports event in the world, which has been recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 1955 and run in the same way as the more commonly known sister events. The first games were held in 1924, some 40 years before the Parallel Games (now Paralympics) began.
We are campaigning to encourage the UK Government and key agency’s to recognise the Deaflympics and other National deaf sporting talent Pathways. We want to see Deaf Athletes provided with suitable levels of support the there talent and commitment to representing there country desire
Overall investment figures from UK Sport show that £49,254,386 was invested into Paralympics’ sport for London 2012, this will increase to £71,247,756 invested for Rio 2016. UK Deaf Sport received £134,000 in a Deaflympic and Talent Funding Grant from Sport England in 2012 this equates to just 0.19% of the amount set to be received by Rio 2016 Paralympic sports. In 2015 Deaf Sport talent support is being withdrawn.
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International Deaf Sporting Competition including the Deaflympics are sanctioned and organised but the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf (ICSD) with European competitions run by the European Deaf Sport Organisation (EDSO). In the UK the strategic lead agency for deaf sport is UK Deaf Sport and they are responsible for organising the GB Team for each consecutive Deaflympic Games.