Deaflympics excitement
Ireland defeat Italy 4-3 to make it into semi-final tie with Iran

We, the Deaf Community in Ireland, are getting excited. This month is Deaflympics month, formerly known as the World Games for the Deaf, renamed to capture the spirit of the Olympics and what is even more important is that our national football team is playing there!
The amazing thing about our team is that it is an All-Ireland team – no two-teams-an-island nonsense – there are catholic and protestant players in the team.
It is because of the traditional education system where many Deaf Northies were educated in Dublin's deaf schools.
The Irish side took on an energetic Italian side in what turned out to be a tough match in Melbourne.
In true fashion we blamed the toughness of the encounter on the wind, especially with Italy scoring the first goal within the first minute of the match with the wind at their backs.
We eventually got the win against Italy and at the end of the day the result is what matters – a win is a win.
We beat Australia on Sunday 11-0 and the GB team beat us 2-0 on January 5 and on January 7 we beat Greece 3-1.
Today (Thursday) will see us take on a well-trained team from Iran in the semi final, which should make for an interesting match.
Melbourne is staging a world-class sporting and social event for Deaf and Hard of Hearing athletes and friends from around the world for this 2005 Deaflympic Games.
In organising this event, the organising committee and their partner, Deaf Sports Australia, will raise awareness of deaf-related issues throughout the wider community and strive to ensure that a legacy program for future Deaflympians is achieved.
The Deaflympic Games, under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee, is the second oldest multi-sport and cultural festival on earth with a long and proud history since the inaugural games in Paris in 1924.
A major coup for Australia, the 2005 games will mark the second time this event has been staged in the Southern Hemisphere.
It commenced with the twilight opening ceremony on the evening of January 5, at Olympic Park, the spectacular arrival and lighting of the official Deaflympic torch set the scene for 12 days of elite sports and cultural events.
Over 3,500 athletes and team officials are expected to attend and participate in 15 individual and team sporting events to be held in and around Melbourne City and the nearby historic city of Ballarat.
In the years prior to 1924, international sports provided limited opportunities for young deaf people. Indeed there were very few national federations to provide sporting competitions for Deaf people.
Mr Eugène Rubens-Alcais, a deaf Frenchman, worked very hard to encourage six official national federations, then in existence, to accept the idea and to take part in the International Silent Games, a deaf version of the Olympic Games.
Deaf sporting leaders assembled at the Cafe de la Porte Doree, 275 avenue Daumesnil, near the Bois de Vincennes in Paris on August 16, 1924. This meeting agreed to establish an organisation called the "International Committee of Silent Sports" (CISS) to establish a union between all Deaf sporting federations and to draft statutes for this Organisation to institute and control the quadrennial Games.
This historic meeting heralded the commencement of the Deaflympic Games movement.
Belfast Telegraph's Bob McCullough who writes regularly for Deaf Talkabout, the deaf community based column there, complained about the failing standards at the Deaflympics due to lack of funding that is much needed to run a world event, suggesting that the CISS can host the next one within the next Paralympics, the Olympics designed for people with disabilities.
As everyone in the Deaf Community knows, disability itself is a very hot potato – many Deaf people do not see themselves as people with disabilities and see their deafness as a positive thing to have.
You can see the results and more stories at:

Journalist:: Shane Gilchrist Ó hEorpa

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