THE enthusiasm couldn’t be missed at Albury’s Lauren Jackson Sports Centre on Friday when a major Border sporting event was launched.
Deaf Sports Australia and Albury and Wodonga councils marked one year to go until the 2018 Australian Deaf Games next January.
At least 1000 athletes, volunteers and officials are expected to take part in more than 15 sports over a week of competition at a range of venues. Participants are invited from around Australia as well as New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa.
Games organising committee chairman Alex Jones said Albury-Wodonga would be the first regional city to host the games, which have been held since 1964.
“It’s good to get out to areas such like this and make the community aware about deaf people, aware about the sign language that deaf people use,” he said.
Mr Jones encouraged Albury-Wodonga residents to participate as officials, referees and volunteers.
“We need the community people to come out and help us because it would be good to have the local knowledge,” he said. “That gives us that warm feeling and that welcoming.”
The launch included a sports day for about a dozen deaf and hearing impaired children from Border schools.
Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie and Albury deputy mayor Amanda Cohn represented their respective councils and helped Brooke King, 12, and Myia Polo, 7, cut the ribbon.
Deaf Sports Australia sports development manager Irena Farinacci said organisers were excited to bring the games to the region.
“I spent some time here looking around Albury and Wodonga yesterday and I just love it, I think it’s the perfect place to be and I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.
The councillors also expressed their anticipation.
“We just hope we don’t make it too hot for you,” Cr Speedie said.
Mr Jones told how his nine-year-old son, also deaf, volunteered to be a scorer at the last games.
“That’s exactly the reason why we have the Australian Deaf Games,” he said.
“It’s for deaf kids because you are our future.”
- Online registrations open on Monday at austdeafgames.org.au