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Turkish deaf sports ring in excitement for hosting 20th Deaflympics

Kerim Vural, president of the Turkish Deaf Sports Federation, emphasized the profound importance of the upcoming 20th Deaflympics, set to take place in Erzurum from March 2-12.

During a discussion with Anadolu Agency (AA), Vural expressed that the Olympic torch of hearing-impaired sports will give the nation a competitive edge of three to five points in hosting the Olympics.

Recalling their successful organization of the Deaflympics Summer Games in Samsun in 2017, with 86 countries participating, Vural emphasized the anticipated arrival of 1003 athletes from 36 countries in Erzurum across six disciplines.

“There are three authorities in the world in terms of the Olympics: the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the International Sports Federation for the Deaf (ICSD). We organized the event in Samsun with the participation of 86 countries in 18 branches. In 2017, we lit the Olympic torch in Samsun. The Olympic torch will put us 3-5 points ahead of our other competitors in hosting the regular Olympics. Of course, we should take this literally and use it,” Vural said.

Vural acknowledged communication as the world’s greatest barrier, especially for those with hearing impairments, yet expressed pride in overcoming this challenge during the 2017 organization.

He noted that this achievement became a reference point, leading to the hosting of the Winter Games in Erzurum.

“We do not have a problem. We cannot evaluate the Deaflympics as a serious argument for hosting the regular Olympics in our country. The fact that a country organizes the Olympics for the hearing impaired shows that it has sufficient infrastructure to hold the normal Olympics. We showed this in 2017,” he added.

Anticipating success, Vural remarked on Türkiye’s strong infrastructure for winter sports in Erzurum, expressing confidence in Turkish athletes’ ability to medal in various categories.

“Our national team had a bronze medal in cross-country skiing at the Winter Deaflympics in 2007.

The curling team for the games in Erzurum: “We have established it. It will be their first international competition. We are hopeful about our team in the curling branch. Even though they are just starting out, I saw their performance, which is very good. We also have medal hopes in alpine skiing. In addition to the three disciplines we participate in snow sports, we also expect medals in futsal and chess,” he said.

Regarding non-participation from certain countries, Vural mentioned that the ICSD imposed penalties on the U.S. and Canada for not participating in the organization under the pretext of security.

He emphasized Türkiye’s position against Israel’s actions in Palestine, noting that when Türkiye took over hosting the 20th Winter Deaflympics, Israel initially expressed interest in organizing it.

However, Türkiye’s vocal opposition to the significant injustices in Palestine seemed to unsettle Israeli sports officials.

Consequently, Israel withdrew from participating in Erzurum, citing security concerns. Vural expressed that Türkiye did not lament this decision.

Vural underscored Türkiye’s safety, citing the successful hosting of the European Volleyball Championship in Karabük last year.

He emphasized the significance of hosting the Deaflympics, noting that over a thousand athletes participate and that the impact of hearing-impaired individuals is four times that of others as they convey the image of the host location to their respective countries.

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