Statement and a request for your support from the UK Deaf Sport Consultation Group

Elite sport funding in the UK is currently managed and distributed by UK Sport on behalf of the UK government and their policy up until now has focused solely on the Olympics and Paralympics meaning that Deaf Athletes training towards the Deaflympics and other international Deaf Competitions have found it impossible to gain the funding they deserve.

UK Deaf Sport has been lobbying for years to address these issues and now the opportunity has arisen to have our say as UK Sport have recently announced their public consultation entitled:

UK Sport Investment Strategy – have your say (http://www.uksport.gov.uk/consultation)

If you are passionate about the future of Deaflympic sport and athletes in the UK, and would like to help shape UK Sport’s thinking, then they definitely need to hear from you!

Under the UK Sport Investment Strategy, (they have a new investment cycle every four years), UK Sport reviews its funding principles and strategies to ensure they are fully aligned with targets agreed in consultation with Government.

The main issue we have is that in 2008 UK Sport stopped funding UK Deaf Sport to focus its resources on London 2012. This helped Great Britain move from 36th on the Olympic medal table at the Atlanta Games in 1996 to third in both the Olympic and Paralympic medal table at London 2012. They also amassed a record breaking 185 medals across 30 Olympic and Paralympic sports. In turn, creating 213 Olympic and Paralympic medal winning athletes to inspire the nation.

Yet, over the same period of time GB Deaflympics had seen its medal position from being top 10 in the Deaflympic medal table in 2001 plummeting to 25th position at the last Deaflympic Games in Sofia Bulgaria 2013.

Worse still, GB Deaflympics development continues to be marginalised.  For the past two decades our Government has failed to recognise deaf sport, preferring to follow UK Sport’s no compromise strategy of focusing on Olympics and Paralympics despite the fact that Deaflympics has been recognised by International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an International Sport Federation since 1955.

UK Sport has invested £380m into 45 Olympic and Paralympic sports, both Summer and Winter games. Interestingly, 23% (£87.4m) of funding has gone towards the Paralympics, a staggering statistic considering 100% of Deaflympic elite athletes received absolutely no funding at all to enable them to participate in both Winter and Summer Deaflympic games. Our athletes have to raise their own funds for their own performance training. Equal? Certainly not.

This is now the right time and opportunity for the general public, GB Deaflympic athletes and Deaf Sport Federations to get their views heard on UK Sport’s investment approach. UK Sport recognises it needs a review and improvements. That’s why they are launching this consultation.

It is up to UK-wide Deaf Sport Federations and athletes to contribute in as many ways as possible to make UK Sport listen to all of us who are affected. We need to further build our visibility and recognition. It is long overdue and we all say that it is NOW time for Deaflympics to be treated equally alongside Paralympics.  At the same time we need to be part of their rationale behind this investment strategy and to have a priority spend for our elite athletes who are Deaf.

As the Strategy lead we will be submitting a full response to their questions and continuing our ongoing work to gain greater support for deaf people in sport. However we need to show our strength in numbers and that we are a united community and this can only be achieved if we all pull together and get involved

Please do participate in this extremely important consultation on their investment strategy.

We need you to state:

  • The importance of the visibility and recognition of GB Deaflympics as part of this equation.
  • that the IOC have always encouraged its national Olympic committees to embrace relations and recognition of its disability sport ( GB Paralympics has grown in prominence thanks to the recognition of the UK Government.)
  • that the Deaflympics share the same IOC recognition but this is not mirrored by the UKGovernment or UK Sport because of its investment strategy to deliberately exclude the Deaflympics.
  • that this situation has to change to accommodate GB Deaflympics and elite Deaf athletes to be part of the same equation.

Deadline for consultation is 10th December 2014.

Please find below the link which will guide you on further information to help you make your response and a copy of their consultation questions with example answers.

Please email your completed forms to:               public.consultation@uksport.gov.uk

PLEASE                 ACT                      

If you want Deaflympics to be on parity with Paralympics within our Government recognition now is your chance to help make it possible!

UK Deaf Sport Consultation Team

Piers Martin; Sports Consultant & UKDS Trustee

Stuart Harrison; Author & Sports Consultant

Tom Smith; Deaflympic medallist & elite cyclist

Claire Harvey; Paralympic athlete

Lauren Pfeffers; Deaflympics medallist & elite athlete

Rebecca Foster; University Lecturer & elite Sports Coach

Tom Staniford; paracyclist

Jan Lishman; elite Sports Coach, Paralympics & Deaflympics

Craig Crowley; UKDS Honorary President & ex-Deaflympics President

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