Paralympics May Include Deaf Athlete Category By 2020 Tokyo Games

TOKYO, Japan, October 18. THE International Paralympic Committee announced today that it is considering adding a deaf athlete category by the time of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, according to Inside The Games.

“It is an objective to get some events for deaf athletes into the Paralympics,” IPC president Sir Philip Craven said. “There has been communication about events being brought back [and] discussions will be ongoing. There will be a minimum of seven years of discussions, so it is not something likely for 2016 but it could be in future years.”

Inside The Games has reported, however, that the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf believe that no process of inclusion is actually underway.

“ICSD has never been given a minimum amount of time for membership by the IPC,” ICSD CEO Mark Cooper said. “In broad terms we asked before London 2012 about adding events for deaf athletes and were told then that there was not enough time to do so. We asked what the procedure currently was and were told that no procedure was currently in place and that we should await further clarification from the IPC.”

In 1996, deaf sports broke away from the initial Paralympic movement and have been running successful Deaflympics contests tailored towards deaf athletes. However, with the Paralympics gaining much more coverage with their cohesion with the Olympics, the Deaflympics have been under fire. UK Deaf Sport actually lost its annual grant of $68,000 from UK Sport according to Inside The Games.

For a more swimming-centric thought about this possibility, Swimming World chatted with one of the best deaf swimmers of all time, Marcus Titus. There’s a story in how immediately supportive he was of the concept.

“I think that’s pretty awesome!” Titus told Swimming World. “I would love to see that happen.”

Inside The Games article.