UK Deaf Sport backs decision to cancel Winter Deaflympics
UK Deaf Sport, the governing body for Deaf sport, has supported the dramatic late cancellation of the 17th Winter Deaflympics, which were due to be held in Slovakia from February 18 to 26.
The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) took the decision to shut down the event after finding that the host country’s organisers had not fulfilled pledges which would have enabled a successful event.
On receiving the news, UK Deaf Sport (UKDS) immediately pledged its full support for ICSD President Craig Crowley in making this bold decision. Crowley, a former Chair of UKDS, had previously issued grave warnings about the ability of the Slovakian organisation committee to guarantee a staging of the Winter Deaflympics.
Two athletes who had hoped to represent Great Britain in snowboarding events at this Winter Deaflympics withdrew at an earlier stage when UKDS had its own strong concerns over the likelihood of the games taking place.
The 43rd ICSD Congress, which was also scheduled for next week in Slovakia has now been postponed. UKDS had prudently planned to pay its Congress entry fees in cash on arrival, due to a lack of confidence that the gathering would be held.
Current UKDS Chair Philip Gerrard commented:
“This decision by ICSD was not taken lightly. Concerns about the host nation’s ability to successfully organise the Winter Deaflympics had been raised more than a year ago and this is the unfortunate consequence of these concerns.
“The President of ICSD was forefront in raising these concerns. UKDS were supportive of the robust inspections made by ICSD delegates to the Winter Deaflympcs venues and we remain supportive of ICSD now.
“We sympathise with those nations who have spent time and money sending athletes to Slovakia but the decision to cancel such a major event shows that ICSD takes its obligations very seriously. and is looking to the long-term benefit of Deaf sport worldwide”.