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10th Helen Keller World Conference – 07-08.11.2013,  Tagaytay, Philippines
Conference theme
"Accessibility and inclusion for people with deafblindness in everyday life - CRPD for everyone everywhere"

 

theme "Accessibility to the sports"

title "Sports as way for social inclusion of the deafblind"

Author: Mr. Dimitar Parapanov
President of the National Association of the Deafblind in Bulgaria
President of the National Sports Federation of the Deafblind in Bulgaria
President of the International Sports Federation of the Deafblind
Auditor of the European Deafblind Union
Auditor of the World Federation of the Deafblind

 

National Association of the Deafblind in Bulgaria (NADbBg) was founded in 1997 and more than 16 years worked for the inclusion of one of the smallest and isolated groups of people with disabilities. Since 1998 NADbBg is recognized by the Bulgarian Government as a national representative organization of the deafblind people and become a member of the National Council for the integration of Persons with Disabilities, which is the consultative body regarding the policy in the area of disability to the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria. Since 1999 the NADbBg receives an annual state subsidy to help developing of many activities among deafblind.

In 2013 NADbBg includes 620 deafblind persons with various combinations of visual and hearing disabilities:
- Regarding the hearing: in levels: "hard of hearing" of at least 45 dB hearing loss to 65 dB, "practical deafness" from 66 dB to 90 dB and "total deafness" over 90 dB
- Regarding the vision: in levels: "residual vision" of at least 71% degree of visual disability and more, "practical blindness" and "blindness".
NADbBg apply the above criteria for admitting deafblind members of the same criteria for visual loss used in the Union of the Blind in Bulgaria and the criteria for hearing loss used by the Union of the Deaf in Bulgaria.
NADbBg unites its members at their places in NADbBg local divisions (branches): 25 territorial organizations working in all districts of the Republic of Bulgaria.

In the first four years of its activity, NADbBg establish 11 territorial organizations in 11 districts of the Republic of Bulgaria.

In 1999 was conducted the first national meeting of the deafblind in the town of Dryanovo on which decisions are made to hold competitions in chess between the deafblind. The chess is a popular sport among the blind and the deaf people in Bulgaria. NADbBg encourages for conducting tournaments in territorial organizations, which to classify winners for the national championship. As the same as the blind, the deafblind use tactile chess-board and pieces.

Then in 2001 in the town of Hisar is held the 1st National Chess Championship of the Deafblind. It was taken the decision that in the next year, except the chess tournament to be held a Festival of amateur art of the deafblind with a competitive character as an manifestation of the desire for expression of their talents.

In 2002 in the city of Varna, next to the 2nd National Chess Championship of the Deafblind is held too, the 1st National Festival of Amateur Art of the deafblind. Participants wished that in next year are to be organized other sports events too, and except chess to be held additionally the physically involving sports activity.

In 2003 Plovdiv NADbBg arranged in the form of a fully event: the first National Celebration of the Specific Capabilities of the Deafblind, including: the 3rd National Chess Championship of the Deafblind, the 2nd National Amateur Art Festival of the Deafblind and the 1st National Championship on Physical Culture and Track-and-Field Athletics of the Deafblind. The new championship includes disciplines within the area of physical culture and athletics: 60 m sprint running - men and women; shot put – men; standing long jump - men and women; dumbbells lifting overhead to failure and time - men and women; rope skipping to failure and time - men and women, pushups to failure – men; squat to failure - men and women, crunches (abdominal press) to failure - women. The disciplines are not complicated and cover the most affordable classes in physical education and athletics for people with combined visual and hearing disabilities, including the elderly. The sprint running and racewalking (that was added in next years) are performed in two groups according to the degree of vision loss:
- Group "Totally blind" involving people with blindness and those who are partially sighted, but could not run independently without seeing guide. Therefore, the participant run blindfolded with the help of seeing guide which runs parallel with him and guide him through the belt held hand by hand;
- Group “Residual vision” includes competitors with residual vision who run without a blindfold, independently, but they have a right to use a seeing guide by their wish.

Sporting competitions finished with individual ranking and team ranking, and the President of NADbBg awarded the winners with prizes: golden, silver and bronze medals and diplomas in the individual rankings, large, medium and small bowls and diplomas in the team rankings. Competitions organized by NADbBg with the help of local city municipalities which provides the necessary facilities for their implementation: gyms and stadiums, athletics tracks and specialized personnel (referees, medics, technicians, security), we applied to a different companies for sponsorship of events.

The National Celebration of the Specific Capabilities of the Deafblind is held annually and includes sports championships and Amateur Art Festival with a competitive character. In each of the Celebration there was about 100 deafblind participants: the best deafblind in sports and in amateur art who wins on competitions of the territorial organizations including participation of the totally deafblind persons, and the deafblind persons with severe combined hearing and visual disabilities.

In 2004, inspired by the leadership of NADbBg among deafblind athletes are conducted a discussions on the development of the sports activities. Locally there are took place the training and competitions, bilateral and multilateral sports contest meeting. In order these activities to be effectively financed, there was established as independent legal entities, three United sports club of the deafblind (USCDb) in the cities where are the most active athletes, and a good leaders and organizers: USCDb " Maritsa " in the city of Plovdiv, USCDb "Vihar" in the city of Varna and USCDb “Ustrem” in the city of Dobrich. These sports clubs was registered to the local municipalities where they receives annual funding of the sporting activities. At the initiative of Dimitar Parapanov, the three USCDb established together in 2005 as an independent legal entity "National Sports Federation of the Deafblind in Bulgaria" (NSFDbBg), which develops and promote practicing a wide range of sports among deafblind people.

In 2007, in Dobrich during the 5th National Celebration of the Specific Capabilities of the Deafblind, except the three existing contests was included too, the sport "arm wrestling" and there was held the First National Championship in Arm Wrestling of the Deafblind. The arm wrestling is accessible sport for the deafblind, which became very popular in the next years.

The Track-and-Field Athletics disciplines are include both racing disciplines (track disciplines) and technics disciplines (field disciplines).

Among racing disciplines, except "60 meters sprint running" - men and women are included too, the disciplines "100 meters sprint running" - men and women, "race walking 200 meters" - men and women. From the technics disciplines are practiced: standing long jump - men and women;
shot put - men and women; discus throw - men and women, javelin throw - men and women.

In 2008 in Varna, together with the 6th National Celebration of the Specific Capabilities of the Deafblind, in Bulgaria was held too, the 1st European Celebration of the Specific Capabilities of the Deafblind, where participated deafblind persons from the different European countries. Competitions in chess, in physical culture and track-and-field athletics, games, arm wrestling and amateur art, become focal point for contact between the deafblind people from all over Europe and expression of their unique capabilities. For the first there were introduced games for deafblind with residual vision: "darts" and "rubber ring throwing".

In 2009, on the 7th National Celebration in Plovdiv at the request of the deafblind athletes, the racing disciplines for the first time are divided in two age groups: to 50 years old and over 50 years old and their individual ratings lists was separated. Furthermore, their distances are doubled, as becoming "100 meters sprint running", "200 sprint running" and "racewalking 400 meters."

In 2010, on the 8th National Celebration in Plovdiv are made certain changes in the sports disciplines: was removed the physical culture disciplines (dumbbells lifting, rope skipping, pushups, squats, crunches) as it is considered as training exercises and non-competitive disciplines. It was removed too the games for deafblind with residual vision, "darts" and "rubber ring throwing" because they not gained enough popularity. The racing disciplines returned to normal ranges: 60 meters, 100 meters and 200 meters. It was held the 1st National Championship on Backgammon of the Deafblind. The game is playing on special tactile boards, tactile marked pieces and dices which are produced from specialized company in Bulgaria.

In September 2011, by the initiative of NADbBg and NSFDbBg and with participation of other national organizations of deafblind, at a founding General Assembly in Stockholm, Sweden was founded the International Sports Federation of the Deafblind People (ISFDb). In the Executive Committee (EC) were elected:
President: Dimitar Parapanov;
Vice President: Geir Jensen (President of the Norwegian Association of the Deafblind People).
Members of the Executive Committee:
- Esco Janti (Board Member of the Finnish Association of the Deafblind People)
- Nadezhda Golovan (Board Member of the Russian Association of the Deafblind People "Elvira");
- Tamas Gangl (President of the Hungarian Association of the Deafblind People)
For auditor of the International Sports Federation of the deafblind was elected Sergey Sirotkin (President of the Russian Association of the Deafblind "Elvira").

The International Sports Federation of the Deafblind (ISFDb) is an international sports organization established with aim to promote and develop worldwide the sports among the deafblind people. ISFDb represents and maintains a close relationship with the European Deafblind Union and the World Federation of the Deafblind.

In 2012 in Bulgaria was established the fourth USCDb "Augusta" in the city of Stara Zagora, which is adopted as a member of NSFDbBg.

In 2013 in Bulgaria from 09 to 13 September in Plovdiv, NADbBg held:

10th Anniversary National Celebration of Specific Capabilities of the Deafblind, which includes:

10th Anniversary National Chess Championship - 09.09 - 11.09.2013, individual ranking
2nd National Championship in Backgammon - 11.09.2013, individual ranking
9th National Championship on Track-and-Field Athletics - 12.09.2013, which was held in the individual and team ranking in the following disciplines:

- Racing disciplines (3 disciplines) – each of them was held separately in two groups of a vision: totally blind and with residual vision, and in two age groups: 50 years old and over 50 years, and in two genders: women and men.

  • 60 m sprint running
  • 100 m sprint running
  • 200 m racewalking

 

- Technics disciplines (4 disciplines) – each of them was held separately in two genders: women and men.

  • Standing long jump
  • Shot put
  • Discus throw
  • Javelin throw

 

5th National Championship on Arm Wrestling (individual and team rankings) - 12.09.2013
was held in the following categories according to the weight of the participants:
Men - to 70 kg.  to 90 kg, over 90 kg.;
Women – to 70 kg. over 70 kg.;
Each category played separately for left and right hand.

9th National Festival of Amateur Art - on 13.09.2013

 

In 2014 in second half of September, NADbBg will hold in Bulgaria in the city of Plovdiv,
the Second European Celebration of the Specific Capabilities of the Deafblind
which will consist from the events:
-3rd European Chess Championship of the Deafblind
-1st European Championship on Backgammon of the Deafblind
-1st European Bowling Championship of the Deafblind
-2nd European Championship on Track-and-Field Athletics of the Deafblind
-2nd European Championship on Arm Wrestling of the Deafblind
-2nd European Championship on Darts of the Deafblind
-2nd European Amateur Arts Festival of the Deafblind

 

With the promotion of the sport and amateur art among the people with impaired vision and hearing, is achieved their fuller social inclusion.

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