Lottery boost for talented deaf athletes
New National Lottery funding will help more talented young deaf athletes fulfill their sporting potential and support athletes who are training for next year’s Deaflympics.
UK Deaf Sport will receive more than £125,000 from Sport England to support the UK Team’s preparations for the competition in Bulgaria.
The investment will also fund work to help individual sports to integrate young deaf and hearing-impaired athletes fully in their talent programmes and so help them realise their full potential.
“The phenomenal performances of GB athletes at the Paralympic Games showed just what can be achieved with the right blend of talent, dedication and financial support,” said Jennie Price, Chief Executive of Sport England. “The investment we’re announcing today will help to create a level playing field for talented young deaf athletes on their journey to elite sport.”
A UK Team of just over 100 athletes and officials took part in the last Deaflympics in 2009, competing in eight sports and winning 10 medals. A similar sized team is expected to travel to Sofia in July and August for next year’s event.
“We want to build on all areas of disability sport, following the success of the Paralympics,” said Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport. “The funding from Sport England to UK Deaf Sport will help athletes receive the high level of dedicated training that we know needs to be undertaken to compete effectively on the world stage.”
Held since 1924, the Deaflympics use adapted technology to suit deaf people and is highly regarded as the largest multi-sport event for high-performance Deaf athletes from around the world.
Pre-Games training and preparation will be led by a co-ordinator and performance manager who will be recruited by UK Deaf Sport.
"Sport England's funding will enable us to move forward with our preparations for the games in Sofia next summer by recruiting two staff who will work with our volunteers and medical and interpreting teams,” said Philip Gerrard, Chair of UK Deaf Sport. The funding will also support our long-term aim of talent development in Deaf sport which will see us working with national sports bodies to establish and embed deaf performance pathways. We are grateful to Sport England for this timely boost, coming at the end of a fantastic summer of sport in the UK."
The announcement was welcomed by organisations that work with deaf and hearing-impaired people, including Action on Hearing Loss, National Deaf Children’s Society and British Deaf Association.