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The Protector of Citizens asked the competent ministry to provide, with amendments to the Law on Sports, that top athletes with hearing disabilities have the same rights as athletes without disabilities and athletes with other forms of disabilities – national awards, monetary awards for top results in competitions and a national pension.

Top athletes with hearing disabilities bring medals from the biggest sports competitions, such as the Deaf Olympic Games, the World and European Deaf Championships, but according to the current Law on Sports, they are not treated the same as athletes without disabilities and athletes with other forms of disabilities, said the Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pašalić.

The Protector of Citizens, acting on the basis of a citizen's appeal, who addressed this institution on behalf of top athletes with hearing disabilities due to discrimination and non-recognition of results at the biggest sports competitions, determined that it is necessary to amend and supplement the Law on Sports so that it also applies to athletes with hearing disabilities, members of the Sports Association of the Deaf of Serbia and the Olympic Committee of the Deaf of Serbia, who are not recognized in the provisions of the current law.

Due to their non-recognition in the Law on Sports, top athletes with hearing disabilities are denied national awards, monetary awards for top results in competitions, as well as a national pension after reaching the age of 40, compared to athletes without disabilities and athletes with other forms of disabilities, the Protector of Citizens points out.

The Protector of Citizens determined that the Memorandum, signed between the International Olympic Committee and the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf – Deaflympic, recognizes that the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf – Deaflympic is equal to the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee.

Therefore, at the national level, athletes with hearing disabilities and their organization, should be recognized by the Ministry of Sports, the Olympic Committee of Serbia and the Sports Federation of Serbia, and accordingly, athletes with hearing disabilities should be equal to Olympians and Paralympians and deservedly gain the right to premiums and national pensions for top sports achievements, according to the Protector of Citizens.

The Protector of Citizens states that the International Olympic Committee recognizes the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf – Deaflympic as the only body that deals with international sports of the deaf and as an independent organization, which is not part of the International Paralympic Committee, but that these two committees of athletes with disabilities are two independent organizations, both recognized by the International Olympic Committee.

Given that the provisions of the Law on Sports that regulate the position, rights and obligations of Paralympians, do not apply to athletes with hearing disabilities, the Protector of Citizens considers that it is necessary to amend the Law on Sports, to regulate their position and protect their rights, in the same way and to the same extent to which the rights of other athletes and Paralympians are protected.