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December 23, 2004

Judo And Karate For 2009 Deaflympics?

From: IMAFD - Dec 23, 2004

Press Release


Rome, Italy - Mr. Francesco Faraone, the President of the International Martial Arts Federation of the Deaf ( IMAFD ) is campaigning a proposal on behalf of the IMAFD organization before the 39th CISS Congress delegates from all over the world to include the sports of judo and karate as full medal sports for the 21st Deaflympic Summer Games in 2009. The CISS Congress will open this coming January 3, 2005, at Melbourne, Australia.

Here are Mr. Faraone's facts and arguments to support IMAFD's proposal:

Since 1979 the IMAFD has successfully been organizing its World Championships in these two sports in different countries and regions of the world. Between 1979 and 2004, the IMAFD organized twelve ( 12 ) such World Championships. According to the IMAFD's statistics, there are more than 35 nations in all regions of the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and America, which have deaf judo and karate fighters – both men and women.

What is more, the sport of judo was supposed to be on the program of the Deaflympic Summer Games in Romania in 1977, but it was cancelled at the last minute.

Both judo and karate were viewed as demonstration sports at the 2001 Deaflympic Summer Games held in Rome, Italy.

Compared with other sports that are currently in the Deaflymic Games program – such as handball, water polo or orienteering - the sports of judo and karate are more popular among the deaf people than these three sports, that is, to our best knowledge, the sport of handball is now practiced in about ten ( 10 ) countries, while in water polo in just six ( 6 ) countries and orienteering in about fifteen ( 15 ) countries.

Therefore, it is unfair and illogical to continue to include these three sports as the medal sports on the Deaflympic Games program, , on the one side, while denying the more popular sports – judo and karate – to be included on the same Games program , on the other side. Additionally, the sports of handball, water polo and orienteering, for example, never had their respective Deaf World Championships at all.

On the other side, the 28th Olympic Summer Games in Athens, Greece, for example, had on its program the sport of judo. The IOC is now consideringto include karate into the program of the Olympic Games in 2008 in China.

For the reasons explained above, at the last 2004 IMAFD Congress held in Moscow, Russia, all its foreign delegates and IMAFD EC members in attendance unanimously voted to propose to this 39th CISS Congress to accept the sports of judo and karate as a full medal sports for the next Deaflympic Summer Games in 2009.

The three countries - Slovenia, Switzerland and Russia - have already expressed their full support to include judo and karate in to the Deaflympic Games program.