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TPE - 2009 Deaflympics Games review

TAIPEI (Deaflympics Games) - The 21st Deaflympic Games basketball tournament staged in Chinese Taipei ended last week Tuesday with USA men defending their title from Melbourne 2005 against Lithuania while the womens tournament saw new Deaflympic Champions Sweden finally beating USA after five consecutive defeats in previous Deaflympic finals.

Mens tournament:

After group-play and qualification rounds as usual the USA seemed to be the strongest team accompanied with Lithuania most probably the opponent in final which prediction also proved to be correct. The six other teams in final games were surprisingly strong playing Ukraine, Chinese Taipei, international newcomer Venezuela, last years runner-up Spain, Greece and Israel. China had a chance to take the second place in their group against Israel but Israel were fighting vehemently and with a full-court press whole third and fourth period they could finally win over China. China in fact a better team than Israel but unused to international deaf basketball could not withstand Israel's full-court press and had no weapon against it, thus throwing away numerous of ball and taking bad shots.
A negative surprise was the decline of Slovenia, former European Champions and always in semi-finals so far in Deaflympic Games and World Championships. Slovenia ended last in their group with a humiliating lost of 30 points to Ukraine, the game also sending Slovenian star Sasa Lukic off the court for abusive language towards the referees. In fact Slovenia suffered a lot with the absence of professional star Miha Zupan who just signed a contract with the Greece club "Trikala" and was not given permission to participate in Deaflympic Games. Slovenia could never recover from this strike.

The final USA - Lithuania was a tight one. Already in semifinal USA had trouble with Greece and now even worse. Not until almost half of fourth period USA with tough defence could decide where the title belongs with winning figures of 90-73. Robert Haney 30 p, Jamel White 20 p were the leading scorers while Lithuania had Robertas Puzinas 21 and Janis Skakun 20 being best scorers.

The bronze game saw Greece take a Deaflympic medal for the first time against Israel with 84-64 with Israel a tired opponent through two previous very close games. Greece leading scorers: Grillis Sideris 29 p and Christos Pagkratis 16 p while Israels pumpers were Shlomi Vaknin 34 p and Yakov Semidubersky 10 p.

Fifth place saw surpriser Venezuela winning over Spain with in a heartbeating game with 90-88.

Women tournament

Sweden with international star Cecilia Ferm stunned the USA with a clear win with 61-52. Swedens excellent defence made USA stars Ida Dotson and Jennifer Decuir bewildered but instead they could see Victoria Crocket surprise everybody with a smart inside play. Sweden could finally give USA their first final defeat in Deaflympic history and after conclusion all the players and leaders formed a big heap at the floor. Cecilia Ferm 19 and Touria Ouahid-Boren 17 points were the leading scorers for Sweden and Victoria Crocket 14 and Abigail Moose 13 points  for USA. Bronze medal to Lithuania with a clear 55-38 win over Greece. For Lithuania: Jurgita Navickaite 23 and Justina Burbaite 22 points and for Greece Alexandra Koftiatsi 17 and Chrysanti Chaina 7 points.
For the first time the Deaflympic Games basketball tournament was lead by two neutral FIBA Commissioners, Viliam Koller from Slovakia and Efim Resser from Germany, appointed by Lubomir Kotleba - FIBA Sports Director, to conduct the games. This was a milestone in international deaf basketball history.

Deaf International Basketball Federation (DIBF) wishes to forward its sincere thanks to the FIBA for its support to international deaf basketball. Viliam Koller and Efim Resser were doing a tremendous job, spreading a calm and humorous air around the tournament.
The tournament was arranged by the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA) in a first class way, everything was working perfectly smoothly. Ms Gloria Wang of CTBA being a very efficient and powerful coordinator of the event and in the background with great support of Mr Jen-Seng Wang, Executive Deputy Secretary General of the CTBA.

This 21st Deaflympic Games in Taipei was arguably the largest and best games ever with 4262 athletes and officials from 85 countries, with over 10,000 volunteers running the games. They have held the unsurpassed $18 million USD glittering and exceptional Opening Ceremony where all countries paraded.

Live television of Deaflympic basketball tournament was broadcasted nation-wide in Taiwan and was available online to view on

For update on all basketball games results for men and women - visit the official 2009 Deaflympics basketball website -

Reporting from Taipei, Taiwan:

Kjell Gunna,
Secretary General
Deaf International Basketball Federation