Friday, September 4, 2009

Summer Deaflympics kick-off in Taipei

Starting September 5th, the 21st Summer Deaflympics will begin in Taipei. It is the first summer deaflympics hosted by an Asian country. Approximately 3,959 athletes from 81 countries are expected to participate in ten days of multi-sport competition.

The deaflympics was the first international sporting event for athletes with disabilities. Except for a ten-year break because of World War II, it has been held every four years since its founding in 1924. The event is organized by the Comité International des Sports des Sourds (CISS, also known as, The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf). Beside the summer games, there are also winter games held on a much smaller scale.

According to CISS, the first games in Paris were attended by only 149 athletes from nine European countries. Since then, the games have undergone various name changes, beginning with the International Silent Games, then from the International Games of the Deaf (1961-1965) to the World Games for the Deaf (1969-1997) before becoming the Deaflympics.

With the World Games 2009 Kaohsiung ending on a high-note in July, Taiwan has proved itself capable of hosting international multi-sport events, according to the Taipei-based China Times. Already the 21st Summer Deaflympics Taipei has broken records. It will be the largest event in the Deaflympics’ 85-year history with a record-breaking number of athletes and countries participating in 20 disciplines. In the 20th Summer Deaflympics in Melbourne, Australia, there were 2045 athletes from 64 countries participating in 14 disciplines. For this competition, Judo, Karate and Taekwondo have been added as new summer disciplines.

The event will also be watched by the largest global audience. Dr. Emile C.J. Sheng, CEO of the Summer Deaflympics Taipei, said the opening ceremony will be broadcast live by Hong Kong-based Phoenix Satellite Television to over 160 countries worldwide.

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About Me

The Press Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco represents the Government Information Office (GIO), Executive Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan). GIO maintains nine Press Divisions in the United States, including the San Francisco office. The Press Divisions are in charge of promoting Taiwan's public relations and cultural exchanges. This blog is updated by the Press Division, TECO in San Francisco.