While the international games for deaf athletes near the end in Turkey’s Black Sea province of Samsun, participants share the satisfaction they have felt throughout the event.
The 23rd Deaflympics began on July 18 in the coastal Black Sea province of Samsun with more than 3,000 athletes from 97 countries participating, and is set to end on July 30.
Aleksas Jasiunas, head coach of Lithuania men’s basketball team, simply described the organization with the word “perfect”.
For his fifth trip to Turkey, Jasiunas said he had the chance to observe the Deaflympic’s organization process in Samsun.
“When I came here for the first time last year, the preparations were rough around the edges. I observed the venues almost constructed in my second visit. And I saw everything ready when I came for the last time,” said Jasiunas, who is also the president of the Lithuanian Sport Committee of the Deaf.
“Everything is perfect,” the president said via the international sign language interpreter.
His content for “everything” covers transportation, accommodations, venues and food in the city, alongside the referees taking part in the organization.
- 'I want to come again'
“I really appreciate Turkish referees. I congratulate each of them in separate branches. And I can’t stand without saying that Turkish meals are superb.”
Sara Braida, head coach of the Italian women’s basketball team, said the organization was “missing” nothing.
The operational status of sport venues and the supporters [inside] them proved that the organization was an "exquisite" event, Braida said.
She also underlined the hospitality she experienced in Turkey, saying staff had behaved warmly towards her team.
“I feel close to Turkey as a country and to its people. I want to come again here,” the head coach said.
The first games for the deaf, known then as the International Silent Games, were held in 1924 in Paris with athletes from nine European nations participating.
The games were the idea of Eugene Rubens-Alcais, himself deaf and president of the French Deaf Sports Federation.
“There is no difference between deaf people, people with physical handicap and normal people. They are all equal,” said Jasiunas, who was also the vice-president of the first provisional central board of Deaf International Basketball Federation.