Wed, Sep 16, 2009 - Page 1 News List

DEAFLYMPICS TAIPEI 2009: Our Games were ‘the best ever,’ ICSD chief says

FIRST-RATE AFFAIR The ICSD was impressed by the event’s venues, the setup of the programs and the number of ever smiling and helpful volunteers

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

A staff member of the Argentine team carries a sign reading “thank you, Taipei” at the closing ceremony yesterday.

PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) president Donalda Ammons yesterday praised Taipei’s Summer Deaflympics as the “best ever” in the Games’ 85-year history.

Ammons said she was impressed by the event in many ways, including its venues, its organization and efficiency, the setup of the programs and the volunteers.

She said organizers resolved any problems that arose quickly. The efficiency was “phenomenal,” she said, adding that past organizers had usually taken hours or even days to solve problems.

There was an exceptional number of volunteers, who were ever smiling and ready to help.

Ammons also praised the high quality of the referees and said media coverage of the event was more than the Deaflympics had ever received.

Organizers were also meticulous about visual information at the event, presenting crucial information on big screens and score boards.

“As a deaf person, I felt like a first-class citizen,” she said.

ICSD vice president David Lanesman of Israel expressed similar gratitude for the care put into the event, saying it made him “feel like a human being.”

ICSD sports director Josef Willmerdinger of Germany said Taipei had a huge heart and that he had never experienced such warmth anywhere else.

“Taipei is the best,” he said.

Presenting Ammons with a key to the city and a certificate of honorary Taipei citizenship, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) thanked the ICSD president for her unwavering dedication and contributions to promoting human rights and sports for the deaf.

Taipei was also grateful for her help with organizing the Deaflympics, Hau said.

Hau gave Ammons a CD with photos, saying he hoped she would remember Taiwan, to which Ammons responded that she would never forget Taiwan, with or without photographs.

Hau also presented flowers and cash awards to Deaflympics athletes Ho Chiu-mei (何秋美), Ho Chiu-hsiang (何秋香) and An Ching-lung (安慶隆).

The Ho sisters won silver medals in women’s doubles tennis and An took home the bronze in the decathlon.

Describing the success of the Deaflympics as “the pride of Taiwan,” the mayor said the Ho sisters’ silver medals were more valuable than golds because they had brought the spirit of the Games and Taiwan into full play.

Ho Chiu-hsiang said although she was injured in the pair’s final match, she kept playing because she knew she would regret it the rest of her life if she gave up.

An said he was happy to improve his personal best performances at the Deaflympics.

He added that he hoped the government would invest more in helping young athletes develop and compete internationally.

He asked the government to help hearing-impaired athletes find jobs, to which Hau said it was the government’s duty to meet their needs, including with job opportunities and training.

The Taipei Deaflympics, which opened on Sept. 5 and closed yesterday, were the first held in Asia.

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