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Doping in disability sport: ICSD not transparent with doping issues in deaf sports

By Con-struct (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons By Con-struct (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This article is part of a ParaSport News series of articles looking at doping in the Paralympic, Deaflympic and disability sports movement.

Comparable level of sanctions by disability sport governing organization since 1986.

Comparable level of sanctions by disability sport governing organization since 1986.


In a ParaSport News review of sanctions for disability sport, Deaflympic sport stands out as a category all its own in doping because of how national doping agencies govern or do not clear govern deaf sports doping issues and because of the lack of doping sportspeople caught.

International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD), which governs Deaflympic sport, has a rule about doping declarations that says, “A mandatory part of each sanction shall include automatic publication, as provided in Article 14.3.”  The cited article says, “Publication shall be accomplished at a minimum by placing the required information on the ICSD’s website or publishing it through other means and leaving the information up for the longer of one month or the duration of any period of Ineligibility.”  They also say in Article 14.4, “The ICSD shall publish at least annually a general statistical report of its Doping Control activities, with a copy provided to WADA. The ICSD may also publish reports showing the name of each Athlete tested and the date of each Testing.”

Yearly total doping violations in deaf sports by nationality.

Yearly total doping violations in deaf sports by nationality.

Of the 370 identified doping offenses by ParaSport News dating back to 1986, only 28 or 7.5% of them involved deaf sports.  All of except two of these sanctions occurred in years when the Summer Deaflympics or Winter Deaflympics took place.  5 of these 28 involved athletes sanctioned by ICSD from unidentified countries, 1 sanctioned by Nationale Anti Doping Agentur Deutschland, and 22 sanctioned by Russia’s Российское антидопинговое агентство. All of these sanctioned occurred in 2007 or later, despite doping controls having been implemented at the Deaflympic Games in 1981. None of these doping violations were reported on the ICSD website.  The ICSD violations were all reported on the Anti-Doping Authority Netherlands website, which seeks to create a global repository of anti-doping documents to bring greater transparency to the issue of doping in sport.

Laura Hale
About Laura Hale (2569 Articles)
Laura Hale is a sport journalist, specializing in Paralympic and disability sport news. Prior to helping found ParaSport-News, she spent two and a half years working as a journalist on Wikinews, a citizen journalism site. As a journalist, she has covered the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, and a number of other sporting events. She has additional experience with Paralympic sport having worked as a Wikipedian in Residence for the Australian and Spanish Paralympic Committees. She has a PhD in Communications from the University of Canberra.

1 Comment on Doping in disability sport: ICSD not transparent with doping issues in deaf sports

  1. Craig Crowley // April 28, 2016 at 2:05 pm // Reply

    Statement by former ICSD President Craig Crowley in response to ParaSport.

    The issues raised by the article on are, ParaSport News regarding doping in deaf sport, are very serious indeed.

    The dataset used by Laura Hale of ParaSport News is clearly problematic. For example, it misses out a number of sanctioned Russian athletes. Until these inaccuracies are resolved, it is not possible to comment in detail. But there are some general comments that may be useful.

    During my tenure as ICSD president, my staff and I were aware of five anti-doping rule violations. All of them involved Russian athletes that had been reported to ICSD by RUSADA, the Russian anti-doping agency.

    None of the athletes concerned competed internationally during the period where their sanctions applied.

    It is also important to note a key difference between Parasport and Deaf Sport. Each deaf athlete is checked for eligibility before they compete internationally. This is to verify the status of their audiogram. This ensures the ICSD office also has the opportunity to internally cross check for anti-doping sanctions.

    In terms of ICSD’s own anti-doping programmes, these were active in terms of testing during various world championships and at the Sofia 2013 Deaflympics. with a testing programme combining 51 in-competition and out-of-competition tests that was approved by WADA and managed by the independent Doping-Free Sports Unit of SportAccord. No anti-doping rule violations were found and in the name of complete transparency, the full results can be found here:

    Confirmation that no athletes had tested positive under ICSD’s programmes was included in the reviews of Sofia 2013.

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