Deaf Sports Events11th October 2013
SL First reflects of the GB Team's involvement in the Deaflympics 2013
The 22nd Summer Deaflympics games have just come to a close in Sofia. The Deaflympics is one of the longest running multi-sport events in history (only beaten by the Olympics). It started in 1924 in Paris with the ‘Silent Games’ held during the same summer as the 1924 Olympics.
This year’s games ran between July 25th and August 4th and were held in Sofia Bulgaria after an initial hiccup. Originally the 2013 games were to be held in Athens, Greece but due to financial problems, they had to withdraw from hosting this year’s games. Sofia had already hosted the games previously in 1993 but stepped in and offered to take over this year’s proceedings.
While our GB team of 49 people did really well and came away with 5 medals, the undeniable winner this year was Russia winning a staggering 177 medals (including 67 Gold). In second place was Ukraine with 88 medals and South Korea came in third with 42 medals. Team GB were awarded 2 medals for the Athletics team; Lauren Peffers was won a Silver medal for the Women’s 400m and Mel Jewett won a Bronze medal in the Women’s Marathon. There were 2 medals for Cycling, both won by Tom Smith (Individual Road Race – Silver and Points Race – Bronze) and the Women’s Football team also won a bronze medal.
After last year’s success at the Olympic and Paralympic games where both GB squads finished in third place in the overall medal tables, it’s a huge shame that the GB Deaflympics team couldn’t quite keep up that performance finishing in 33rd place.
One reason for this could be that unlike the Olympics and Paralympics, the UK Government does not provide any funding/sponsorship for the Deaflympic athletes, so they are forced to pay for everything themselves. On average each athlete attending was required to pay more than £2,000 of their own money to attend the games or undertake large fundraising activities to try and subsidise the cost. As a result of this, most of the British athletes need to have full time jobs to make ends meet and then use any money left over to fund their own sports activities. Some of the Deaflympic squads from other countries (and our own Olympic/Paralympic squads) are fully funded to attend the events and also for the training, this allows them to train at a professional level and means they don’t need to also have a full time job.
SL First caught up with Dominic Caswell, one of the Team GB Badminton players to find out what it was like being a part of this year’s Deaflympics, he said “Just being a part of the Deaflympics is a fantastic experience, and it’s also a chance to meet with athletes from other sports, to support each other, have a great time and still be able to focus on achieving our own goals.” We also asked him about the differences in the number of medals between Deaflympics and the Paralympics, Dominic said he thinks “It’s due to a combination of factors; there is a lack of people willing to train at such a high level, most other countries offer state sponsorship covering years worth of training and also some countries were offering large cash prizes for those winning medals. If I’m honest, I was hoping for maybe another medal or two for us, but it is a fantastic achievement to get as many as we did.” SL First wholeheartedly agrees with this and would like to congratulate all of the GB athletes who took part in this year’s Deaflympics, well done!
[Pictures by Chris Caswell]
Article by Sarah Lawrence
posted in Deaf Sport / Deaf Sports Events
11th October 2013