Newsletter  April 2020

The last few months have been a very turbulent time for most of us. First, the joyful waiting, training, planning the travel, buying tickets and many other logistic preparations for the Trisome Games in Turkey. Then ”out of nowhere” this dangerous Corona virus came into our lives, causing anxiety and fear. Fear for our own and our families and friends health and lives – but also for the competition; was it going to be cancelled, postponed?  And would all the hard work of training for the championships be wasted? The people from the LOC in Turkey must have gone through an awful period, trying to keep up hope, that the situation would improve. But in the end, and upon an request from the DSISO board they had to make the difficult decision – and in the middle of March they postponed the Games. The decision was certainly not easy, but proved to be the right one. A few days later the virus was discovered to have spread throughout the World, causing death and devastation and almost all countries had to ”close down”, trying to avoid spreading of the virus even further. Different methods and politics are used in the different countries, but the main message is the same: good hygiene and social distancing or some degree of ”isolation”.
I know that many families has been affected by the COVID-19 disease, and my thoughts go out to the victims and to their relatives. Our own organisation has also suffered  a great loss – the former president, the driving force behind all our activities, in DSISO and in SUDS, Geoff Smedley, passed away as one of these victims. His passion and enthusiasm, for the benefit of our swimmers, will be greatly missed forever. As you might all have noticed, many of his great achievements have been commended and applauded on various social medias and on our homepage. He worked very hard trying to reach the goal of making Down Syndrome an accepted class in international sport, and we all owe him to continue. I hope that I, with your support and approval, can keep working towards fulfilling Geoff’s tireless struggle against discrimination and for equality in sports.  We will miss Geoff very much. May he rest in peace.

Much of our energy is now concentrated on fighting the virus. The future is most uncertain but in the horizon some hope seems to be rising. Drugs against COVID-19? Vaccination? In the meantime we must try to diminish the spreading and keep the number of casualties within the frames of the capacity of the healthcare systems. If a 6 month postponement of the Trisome Games will be enough, nobody can tell at this moment. Let’s hope everything will be safe in October, let’s continue the training of the swimmers to keep them ”fit” so we will all be able to meet up in Turkey and perform our very best.
I have been told that some teams already know, that they will not be able to participate at that particular time. Hopefully they will reconsider and give it another ’try’ – for the benefit of all our swimmers.  Perhaps even some of the other countries, not registered for the April event, will be able to participate in the competitions in October?

Many of us are in process of trying to get some refund for some of the expenses due to the postponement of the competition, mostly flight tickets, and those not able to attend in October, also the money paid to the LOC in Turkey for participation and accommodation.  I have to remind everybody, that only a very small percentage of this amount has directly to do with DSISO, namely the 25 euro/person fee, which should have been paid to us after/during the competition. The ”rest” is a matter between the countries and the LOC (and perhaps SUDS?).  I’m quite confident, that the LOC will do whatever they can to satisfy all the teams/countries, but please give them some time to ”find themselves” after devastating crises.

I wish you all good health – be careful out there!
Greetings from DSISO


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