Border sporting dates clash affects Australian Deaf Games entries

VENUE INSPECTION: Deaf Sports Recreation Victoria's James Hale, Deaf Sports Australia board member Alex Jones, NSW Deaf Sports chairperson Cindy-Lu Bailey and Deaf Sports Australia president Phil Harper visit Albury Swim Centre in February, 2016.
VENUE INSPECTION: Deaf Sports Recreation Victoria's James Hale, Deaf Sports Australia board member Alex Jones, NSW Deaf Sports chairperson Cindy-Lu Bailey and Deaf Sports Australia president Phil Harper visit Albury Swim Centre in February, 2016.

The Border’s crowded sports calendar this month has reduced the number of Queensland competitors able to take part in the Australian Deaf Games.

The 2018 games, which open in Albury-Wodonga on January 20, overlap with the start of the Queensland school year, although coinciding with every other state and territory’s holidays.

Deaf Sports Australia general manager Garry West-Bail said the dates were chosen so the Australian Deaf Games did not clash with annual Border fixture, the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup (January 16-20).

“We felt that was the best time, January 20-27, but unfortunately it does have an impact, a small impact on the Queenslanders,” Mr West-Bail said.

Although some families could not attend, about 45 people from Queensland had still registered for the games.

“We try to please everybody as best we possibly can,” Mr West-Bail said.

“There’s disappointment in Queensland, no doubt about that, but a good number of people are coming anyway.”

More than 800 people will take part in the Australian Deaf Games, including competitors from New Zealand and Fiji. Wodonga’s Willow Park will host a children’s mini-games the day before the official opening ceremony at Albury Entertainment Centre.

Mr West-Bail said futsal, darts, eight-ball and bowls had proven popular while the games would include an aquathon and triathlon for the first time.

“The whole program is very exciting, we know it’s going to be successful,” he said.

The general manager said the Border’s continued community, corporate and council support had been pleasing.

“Certainly the deaf awareness training that’s occurred, and it’s still happening, in Albury-Wodonga has been great,” he said.

“There’s so many people involved in learning the basics about Auslan and communication tips, communicating with deaf and hard of hearing people.”

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