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January 12, 2005

After hearing, Russian wrestler disqualified

From: The Age, Australia - Jan 12, 2005

By Stathi Paxinos
January 12, 2005

A Russian wrestler has been thrown out of the Deaflympics after it was discovered that his hearing was better than the allowable level for competitors.

Sergey Iankovsky was disqualified during the heats of the Greco-Roman wrestling after Iran launched a protest, claiming that he was responding to instructions from his coach during a bout against an Iranian wrestler last week.

All Deaflympic athletes must remove hearing aids before competition and an International Deaflympic Committee-sanctioned test conducted after the appeal found that Iankovsky had a 48-decibel hearing loss in his good ear, whereas the Deaflympic rules state that competitors must have not less than 55-decibel loss - roughly equating to having only half the normal range of hearing in one ear.

Deaflympics organising committee chief executive Trish Tracey said yesterday there was no indication that it was a deliberate attempt to cheat, but added: ". . . It is not a good reflection on Russia and I sure that they would be not at all happy that that occurred."

She said deaf sport organisations of each country must submit audiograms of their competitors to the International Deaf Olympic Committee in the lead-up to the competition, but the system was not failsafe because each country measured its athletes' deafness in different ways.

Tracey said Iankovsky had been registered before the Deaflympics as having hearing loss that was on the borderline of eligibility. She said half of the 3000 athletes competing at the Games would be regarded as borderline. "If you are going to put it into simplistic terms, probably the best way to describe it is being deaf in one ear and almost deaf in the other."

"There's a fair degree of science in trying to ascertain all those particular audiograms because they do use different testing systems in different countries. It is a very complicated system."

Tracey said a tennis player who had worn a hearing aid and a track athlete who incorrectly ran in a relay also had been disqualified during the Deaflympics.

- Promising teenager Amy Mills, who recently has been accepted into the NSW emerging athlete program, collected Australia's first gold medal in athletics when she won the javelin last night.

Mills has off crutches only been for one month after she injured her knee in a car accident.

Copyright © 2005. The Age Company Ltd.