Hearing loss is not a barrier for athletes

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ANKARA-Anadolu Agency

Hearing-impaired athletes do not need any additional equipment when playing sports, according to the head of a sports federation.

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“When playing sports, we have no difference with the people who can hear, all the equipment is the same, we are equal,” said Yakup Umit Kihtir, head of the Turkish Hearing Impaired Sports Federation (TIESF). .

Speaking in Turkish Sign Language (TID) on the occasion of International Sign Language Day, Kihtir was performed by Umut Tufan, a sign language translator.

Sport offers many opportunities for deaf people to improve themselves, improve their knowledge and meet new people, Kihtir said.

“To be deaf in Turkey is to be part of a community that covers 1% of the total population,” Kihtir said, adding: “Although we are small in number, we can come together and know each other within ‘organizations. “

“We have a lot of obstacles in life. For example, a deaf person cannot communicate without an interpreter, but when playing sports it is not necessary to have an interpreter. We all speak the same language, from meetings to discussions, ”he said.

Achievements of deaf Turkish athletes

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Kihtir said there was tremendous support for athletes who have hearing ability, lamenting that those with hearing loss are not so well known.

“There are many achievements of deaf athletes, but we cannot announce them ourselves. We play the same sport, we follow the same rules, ”Kihtir said, adding that there are many professional deaf athletes in sports, including football, basketball, volleyball and even bowling.

Kihtir went on to say that deaf athletes can also compete alongside those with hearing abilities like Yasin Suzen, a sprinter who came first at the Deaflympics held in Turkey’s Samsun province on the Black Sea.

“He was then transferred to the Athletics Federation because of his success,” he added.

A total of 3,148 athletes from 97 countries participated in the 23rd Deaflympics held in Samsun in June 2017. Turkish athletes won 27 gold, 7 silver and 26 bronze medals.

Focus on TIESF

Kihtir said he started his professional career as a national swimmer.

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“When I became responsible for the federation, I was able to see the gaps better and better understand the athletes.

“The athletes agreed with the instructors on technical issues and contacted me for personal issues. So we started to use more interpreters in organizations, ”Kihtir added.

Kihtir also advises everyone to learn a sign language as a “good and conscientious person”.

“I tell the interpreter in public institutions, law firms or at a notary, but does the translator translate exactly what I say? If anyone knows sign language in such places then I will have more specific information because that person is a professional in their field.

“Therefore, everyone should learn this sign language,” Kihtir concluded.

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According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are approximately 72 million deaf people in the world. Over 80% of them live in developing countries. Collectively, they use over 300 different sign languages.

Sign languages ​​are natural languages ​​in their own right, structurally distinct from spoken languages, according to the UN.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed September 23 International Day of Sign Languages ​​to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of deaf people.

The first International Day of Sign Languages ​​was celebrated in 2018 under the theme “With sign language, everyone is included!” “.


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