Craig Crowley MBE, the British former President of International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) has spoken about his experiences ahead of the 2017 Deaflympics taking place in Samsun, Turkey this summer.
Crowley described his Presidency of ICSD from 2009-2013 as “the most challenging job in Deaf Sport” as he remembered his four year term during the most tumultuous time in ICSD history.
“I have been involved in high performance elite and strategy sport for most of my working life and the chance to lead ICSD was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said.
Craig admits the highlight of his time as President was, without doubt, saving the Sofia 2013 Deaflympics and ensuring the games continued for the 2015 and 2017 Deaflympics.
“It was a life changing experience personally and professionally incorporating everything learned from both my sporting and administrative career and for ICSD in terms of having the long and proud tradition of Deaflympics intact after the most difficult term ever experienced by any ICSD President which saw the cancellations of Vysoké Tatry (Slovakia) 2011, Athens (Greece) 2013 and Vancouver (Canada) 2015. To deal with all this was not what I was expecting to inherit in taking on the leading position in worldwide Deaf sport.”
Crowley freely admits there were numerous challenges in taking on the role, particularly when it came to key decisions affecting the organisation and athletes. “The hardest challenge was constantly dealing with funding (where could it be sourced) and recognition (how to achieve this worldwide).” he said.
“The contribution from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to Deaflympic Sport was always appreciated and I was hugely grateful for it, whilst also acknowledging and dealing with the fact that ICSD had less money in real terms compared to the Paralympics.”
With the ICSD President Dr Valery Rekhledev set to be re-elected in the coming months, Crowley believes his 2013 successor will need to embody certain key qualities.
“I would say it is essential to have an insight into how the IOC works and to have a fundamental understanding of the systems likely to produce success on the world stage, as well as understanding and having a genuine partnership with International Paralympic Committee with a robust strategy going forward.”
Summing up, Craig said: “Nothing ahead can ever replicate or replace the work I have done at ICSD. Four years later, I can honestly say I have missed working with the Board, Technical Directors team, fellow member delegates and the talented, committed and superb Deaflympic athletes all over the world.”
“I would like to thank each and every person who enabled the four year term to be a success in the ICSD’s most difficult and lifesaving journey. Evidence of this is standing the test of time by seeing the ICSD and its athletes continuing to keep Deaf sports alive.”
Crowley, who is also the current Honorary President of UK Deaf Sport (UKDS), will not be able to attend the prestigious Deaflympics in Samsun this summer as he recovers from a recent operation, instead he is sending a goodwill message for all delegates and athletes at the Games.
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