Deaf Sports Stars13th October 2013
Susy Evans deaf Olympic Torch Bearer
Susie Evans is deaf, multiple medal winner in karate and an Olympic Torch Bearer
Following a visit to Dyfed Powys Police Headquarters, SL First was given an exclusive interview with Susy Evans, Olympic Torch Bearer.
Susy is 42, and she has worked for Dyfed Powys Police since she was just 19. If you visit the Police Headquarters in Carmarthen today, you will find a tribute to Susy in a glass presentation cabinet behind the main reception area.
Susy is responsible for collecting all of the road traffic collision figures for Dyfed Powys Police. After 23 years of practice, she’s pretty good at it. Susy was born profoundly Deaf but she can hear with hearing aids and speaks fluently. Consequently, she has never learned to be a fluent BSL user, but she is trying to learn some now.
Growing up, Susy remembers bullies teasing her, “it was a challenge, but ultimately it did’t stop me doing anything,” she says, “I just thought they were cowards and jealous.” This fighting spirit, is something that has gone on to influence Susy’s life ever since. By the time Susy reached school years, she can’t remember having any particular problem as a consequence of her being Deaf. She was given an extra teacher to help her through each class, and subsequently went on to pass all of her exams at GCSE and A Level.
At the age of 18, Susy took up karate. She told SL First, “I have been hooked ever since. I love the beautiful art moves called kata which means form. Kata is a sequence of moves with invisible attackers all around you.” Modestly, Susy tells us that she competed both nationally and internationally, winning 10 Gold, 5 Silver, and 10 Bronze medals, at various competitions. This is not a lady to be messed with!
Amongst many proud moments in her career, Susy recalls her delight at being named the Young Achiever by HRH the Queen, in a ceremony that took place at Buckingham Palace.
Susy is keen to support others, especially children, “I love teaching kids,” she tells us. “Seeing them grow in confidence, gain their grades or win a competition is good enough for me.” Her passion for karate comes out in her teaching, and she has subsequently gone on to be recognised as the Community Coach and Volunteer of the Year. Not content with sitting back and watching her protégés compete, Susy has also just qualified as a Welsh Judge, meaning she will now be officiating at competitions too.
For lots of Deaf people, Susy still believes that bullying is a force to be reckoned with, “but I am a fighter. Nothing fazes me!” she says in a no nonsense manner.
We had to ask Susy about being an Olympic Torch bearer, and instantly you can see just what a special moment that was for her. “I was stunned to be named as a torch bearer,” she told us, “I felt honoured and touched to be selected.”
Susy told us that apart from having her children, carrying the Olympic torch was the best day of her life. She recalls that ‘her’ day was blessed with beautiful weather and a crowd of about 2,000 turned out to cheer her on. “My family, especially granddad and kids, were so proud!”
The torch, along with Susy’s outfit, is on display in Police Headquarters. “It is better than just sitting at home collecting dust,” she tells me. “I think it’s nice to remind people of the Olympic days.” Pleasingly, Susy tells us that she does take it out for school visits, and the interest in the Olympics has meant she has done about 20 visits so far, with nearly 2000 photographs taken just for that her one torch. Not that she is counting!
Susy’s karate classes are open to anyone, and she does have two Deaf students who have been with her for a year. “Hopefully, they will inspire more Deaf people to join in the future, Suzy said. “Karate is for everyone including disabled, deaf and any age, young or old!”
Thinking back on her life, and thinking about society today, we asked Susy if she had a message to Deaf youngsters. “Don't let anyone stop you from doing what you want to do,” she offered determinedly. “Life is too short! Go for it! What have you got to lose!”
If you want to learn about Susy or her karate classes you can access further information on her website at http://www.susykarate.co.uk.
Article by Sarah Lawrence
posted in Deaf Sport / Deaf Sports Stars
13th October 2013