The following information detailing risk assessment on whether to send an Australian team to Brazil Deaflympics in December 2021 assisted the DSA Board with making a unanimous decision.
It is with regret that the DSA Board will not be sending an Australian team to the 2021 Deaflympics in Brazil.
Our decision was made after months of consulting with DSA members, Sport Australia, Sport Integrity Australia (international travel and risk management team), Federal Government and the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf (ICSD).
The findings that assisted the Board with making this decision include:
- DSA Travel Insurance broker will not include COVID-19 impacts or incidents in any DSA travel insurance policy;
- Inability to attend qualifying events for football and basketball in Malaysia, May 2021 (moved from March, 2021) due to:
o no overseas travel allowed (Federal Government decision)
o COVID-19 pandemic unresolved and still at high risk
o Quarantine requirements for both countries
o Vaccine roll-out in progress (beginning of roll-out);
- Recent unofficial Department of Health (Federal) advice that there be no overseas travel allowed in 2021 (unless approved by Federal Government as a special circumstance);
- Return travel quarantine risk (14 days at designated hotel and at own expense) still in place;
- Brazil is currently in a serious pandemic situation and unpredictable with COVID-19 management and vaccine plan. Recent international news from WHO states that there is now a serious virus strain coming from Brazil (different from UK and Africa);
- DSA survey to NDSO’s who have athletes competing in Deaflympic events indicated consistent response to several questions including:
o Concerned of risks in sending a team to Brazil due to COVID-19 etc – all YES
o Worried about fundraising difficulties due to COVID-19 – all YES;
- Vaccine roll-out in Australia will not be available for young people until late in 2021;
- Health and safety advice prefer vaccine herd immunity (70%+ of population is vaccinated) is reached in travel destination country before considering visit;
- Brazil Deaflympics Organising Committee considering creating a bubble arrangement where teams will fly in and fly out and remain in hotels in between competition/ training. No opportunity for sightseeing or local travel. No other information is available on current status;
- Current Federal Government status on funding support for sport teams for international travel is very low due to focus on COVID-19 economic recovery and prevention plans – unlikely to get any Federal / State Government grant for the 2021 Games team;
- Sponsorship opportunities limited due to difficulties businesses have and are still facing due to COVID-19 impacts;
- International Airfare costs are likely to be expensive due to restricted travel. Many team members like to travel for holiday before or after Deaflympics – not possible in 2021;
- 2021 Sport training for our individuals / teams impacted by COVID-19 restrictions in Australia – interstate borders, hotspot risks and quarantine rules – do not know when restrictions will ease. Team readiness for the Games is limited.
The DSA Board will look into making sure the 2022 Australian Deaf Games in Newcastle / Lake Macquarie (www.austdeafgames.org.au) does provide opportunity for a wonderful multi-sport event. We will keep you informed.
This has not been an easy decision but the health and well-being of everyone is our number one priority. With this global pandemic, we (like all other national sport organisations) are obligated to make sure our sport programs events and athlete participation meet all safety requirements.
If you have any questions, please contact Phil Harper.
25 January 2021