Millions of dollars, hundreds of visitors and a community impact expected to last well beyond the closing ceremony.
Much is expected from the 2018 Australian Deaf Games, which start on Saturday in Albury-Wodonga and continue with a nine-day program over 17 sports and other activities.
Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie said the games represented a coup for the region as only the second time held outside a capital city.
“It’s anticipated the games will bring an economic benefit of about $3 million to the Border,” she said.
Member for Albury Greg Aplin said more than 850 people would attend and take part in the competition.
“The Australian Deaf Games provides a fantastic opportunity for local businesses, accommodation providers, restaurants and tourism operators to capitalise on the additional visitors,” Mr Aplin said.
Games organising committee chairman Alex Jones said Albury-Wodonga had shown its commitment to the games through more than 180 people learning Auslan and more than 130 attending deaf awareness training.
“So all up we have over 250 people from the local community who are ready for us and that’s a very warm welcome,” he said.
“That will continue for many years to come, so it’s a great impact that we’ve had working with the community.”
On Friday nearly 50 children took part in a mini games of obstacle and teamwork challenges at Wodonga’s Willow Park.
Mr Jones said the preliminary event involved participants from this week’s Crossing Borders camp at Borambola, where deaf teenagers spend time together learning about leadership and identity.
“(The games are) a chance for them to meet all the deaf athletes so they can say ‘Oh wow, if they can do it, I can do it’,” he said.
Albury’s Brooke King, 13, will contest 13 events in Sunday’s swimming program and also play touch football during the games.
Excited but nervous, Brooke liked the games being held at home.
“It’s a lot easier for my family plus it’s good that they’re able to watch and cheer me on,” she said.
She also appreciated being one of many deaf athletes.
“It feels like I belong somewhere and I understand what they’re going through because they’ve understood what I’ve gone through,” Brooke said.