The anticipation of an international sporting tournament makes me feel like a kid looking forward to cotton candy. This anticipation of athleticism is topped off with an excitement that usually kicks-in a few weeks before the start of the competition (yes, I am simply zealous). I got that sweet feeling recently when I realized the countdown to Sofia 2013: the quadrennial Deaf Olympics on from 26 July 2013 – 4 August 2013 (dubbed ‘Deaflympics’).
The codes to be contested are: Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Bowling, Cycling, Football, Handball, Judo, Karate, Orienteering, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball, Waterpolo and Wrestling. Primary qualification for the Deaflympics is limited to athletes with a hearing loss of equal or more than 55 decibels (db) in their ‘better ear.’ For a sense of this range, the bold areas below give a subjective description of various low-to-medium noise level environments [db(A)]:
100 Printing press room
95-100 Peak level passenger train at 200 km/h at 7,5 metres
Peak level passing freight train (diesel engine) at 100 km/h at 7,5 metres
85-100 Discotheque (indoor)
75-100 7,5 metres from passing motorcycle (50 km/h)
80 Kerbside of busy street
70 Blaring radio
60-80 7,5 metres from passing passenger car (50 km/h)
60 Supermarket/busy office
35 – 45 Average suburban home
30 Average rural home (night-time)
25-30 Slight rustling of leaves
20 Background in professional recording studio
0-20 Experienced as complete quietness
0 Threshold of hearing at 1000 Hz
Nothing shouts dedication more than passion for sport when expressed through the most unlikely channels and circumstance. Everyone has a story behind their sports story and those behind differently-abled sports are, almost without fail, nothing short of quintessential. The essence of sport (lost on the morally corrupt business of modern sport) can still be found in realms of expression like the deaf sport where the focus is tuned in against the clamour of the world.
International Committee of Sports for the Deaf President, Craig Cowley, looks forward to strategic visibility this season hereon. “It’s not until you question [the] Deaflympic movement [that] you can improve [the] ethos better – an inquisitive mind is requisite for athletes visibility. It is absolutely crucial [that the] Deaflympic Movement must keep being exploited in positive light even if we have minimum Deaflympic this summer.” And whilst we may not be able to enjoy its widespread coverage in mainstream media just yet, I encourage everyone to look equally forward to Sofia 2013 along with the number of initiatives that aim to uplift differently-abled sport in your city.