Deaf Sports Events1st December 2014

A range of sports recognised at Deaf Sports Personality of the Year 14

Gracing the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, Deaf sports stars get the recognition they deserve

by Sarah Lawrence

Doncaster Deaf Trust Football Club
A supporter of Deaf Sports Personality of the Year since its inception, I booked my tickets early for the 2014 awards. Since first publishing my SLFirst magazine, I have ensured a strong sporting presence. However, in the last year and keen to promote as much Deaf Sport as I could, I attended Deaf Football, Rugby, Futsal, Squash, Swimming and Bowls events and published articles about them all.

On one day this even entailed attending a football match miles from home early afternoon and then dashing to Franklin Gardens in Northampton for the England v Wales Deaf Rugby match.  It was manic, but it is important to me to play my part in giving Deaf Sport the public platform it deserves and with the magazine now read by people in over 150 countries, I am pleased to be doing so.

In attending those events I have met some wonderful people, some working behind the scenes to make that Deaf sporting event happen, and others picking up trophies after putting their life and soul into a match. Travelling up to Coventry an hour later than planned for DSPY 2014 with Linda Day, I was looking forward to meeting some of the great people I had bumped into on my travels.

Both Linda and I thought we knew the way to the Ricoh Arena until we reached the M42 when either of us was sure which turn to get off. According to our phone app we had to get off at Junction 6 but it was too late before we realised we should have got off at the next junction.

Dr Gerry HughesDr Gerry Hughes was due to start his talk at 3pm and it was fast approaching 3pm when we arrived in Coventry City centre. The traffic and frustration of finding the Ricoh Arena was stressing us out. If only we had turned off at the next junction we would easily have arrived in time for Gerry’s presentation.

By the time we arrived , the 87 people who bought their tickets beforehand for Gerry Hughes’ presentation were there. In front of me there were 2 international interpreters for a Belgian couple. Sitting alongside there were also 3 interpreters doing voice overs on Gerry Hughes’ presentation for anyone in the audience who may not know BSL.

As we had missed half an hour of Gerry’s presentation we managed to sit through another hour. He showed images of what went on and the issues he was facing during his epic global journey. One of his images turned my stomach with a huge wave in front of him, with Gerry taking a once in a lifetime opportunity to take the picture (not really sure how, but he had special equipment to hold the camera). It was taken on his journey between Cape Town, South Africa and Hobart, Tasmania, somewhere in the Indian Ocean. The wave was enormous and I thought, gosh if I’m sitting here feeling nervous looking at that picture, how must Gerry have felt experiencing it for real. He admitted he felt slightly nervous as his boat is so small in comparison to the size and power of a ferocious sea.

Annie StrawThroughout his presentation, Gerry explained each section of the journey and the relevance of the photographs, all the way from Troon around the world and back again. I thought his presentation was very interesting and I hope more and more deaf people will see what can be achieved through incredible ambition and determination.

There was an opportunity for the audience to ask the panel questions. The panel were Gerry’s team behind his journey.

It was interesting to learn how things went from little to worldwide Deaf community support for Gerry. In thanking everyone, Gerry’s wife Kay said that she was overwhelmed with the support. She told us that it had been very hard at the beginning but the interest kept her spirits high throughout although she had every confidence that 

Gerry would achieve his dream. Gerry also mentioned that wherever he went, he could not have asked for better support.  The surprise he had when arriving back in Troon was something he could not describe. It was amazing, emotional and he still can’t quite believe that he has achieved his lifelong dream.

Derrick ColemanThe audience were asking questions and there was one thing I wanted to ask but didn’t because I felt if I had arrived early enough I might not have needed to ask. How did he manage to take photos on his boat during horrid weather, big waves etc Hopefully, one day I will find out.

After his presentation, Linda and I dashed out quickly to get some food before the awards evening began.

Danielle JoyceWe headed back to the Awards evening around 7.30pm. It was good to see so many familiar faces from all the sports events the SLFirst team has attended during 2013 & 2014 in the crowd and I was looking forward to having a hang wag with some of them as the evening, progressed. As it turned out, I was hand wagging until 4.45am, it was quite a marathon.

Throughout the evening the awards for each category was awarded by:
60% vote by the judges
40% vote by those who attending the event.

Amidst much excitement, the DSPY Awards went to:

Fan of the year – Annie Straw

Quest III

Unsung Hero – Quest III Team 

Overseas Deaf Sports Personality of the Year – Derrick Coleman (American Football)


Spencer Stevenson

Young Player of the Year – Danielle Joyce

Team of the Year – Doncaster Deaf Trust Football Club

Coach of the Year – Spencer Stevenson

Donna Cross on left

Lifetime Achievement – Dr Gerry Hughes

DSPY – 1st Donna Cross
2nd Jacob Willis
3rd Mike Burris

Along with everyone else I had a thoroughly enjoyable time and I hope to see lots of the people who were present at upcoming sporting events.


Photographs by kind permission of Jason Steadman

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Deaf Sport / Deaf Sports Events

1st December 2014