More than 3,000 athletes from around the world to participate in 23rd games

The 23rd Summer Deaflympics began here Tuesday with more than 3,000 athletes from 97 countries -- the most ever number of participants in the event’s history.

A performance by the Deaf Dance Academy was followed by a parade of the athletes who will compete in 21 categories, including athletics, basketball, football, swimming and wrestling, at 37 venues in eight districts in Samsun.

Turkey has 294 athletes participating in the games.

Approximately 1,500 volunteers, of which 250 are deaf, and 500 sign language translators will work at the event.

The first Deaflympics was organized in Paris by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) in in 1924.

The U.S. has been the most successful country at the games with 987 total medals and 350 gold.

Turkey participated for the first time in 1989 and has won a total of 84 medals with 17 gold.

Turkish athletes won 33 medals in last summer’s games in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The opening ceremony at the May 19 Stadium, was attended by government officials, including Deputy Premier Nurettin Canikli, Minister of Youth and Sports Akif Cagatay Kilic, health minister Recep Akdag and Minister of Family and Social Policies Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya.