Thu, Dec 18, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Deaflympics to draw some 3,950 athletes from 81 countries


A total of 3,965 athletes from 81 countries will compete in the 21st Summer Deaflympics to be hosted by Taipei City, a Taipei Organizing Committee executive said on Tuesday.

Lin Kuo-juei, chief executive officer of the committee, said the event would take place at different venues in Taipei from Sept. 5 to Sept. 15, covering 20 events, with judo, karate and taekwondo included.

Taiwan will enter 164 athletes — 107 men and 57 women — to vie for medals in 16 disciplines, Lin said.

In order to provide better reception and translation services for the athletes and officials who will be arriving from around the world, the committee has recruited 2,801 volunteer staffers.

The staffers are being trained in international sign language at Taipei Municipal University of Education and National Taipei University of Education.

Lu Tzu-yi, the committee’s international affairs section chief, said the volunteers were also being coached in international sports event etiquette, as well as the rules and regulations of the various sports involved.

The committee will recruit another 50 foreign volunteer staffers who speak English and who can communicate in sign language, and will also convene a group of higher-level sign language translators for special translation needs, Lu said.

Another committee executive noted that as Deaflympians cannot be guided by starter’s guns, bullhorn commands or whistles, referees or umpires’ instructions will be delivered by light signals, gestures and flags.

The Deaflympics is sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee and has been organized by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf since 1924.

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