Deaf athletes ready to achieve sporting dreams
Deaf athletes from every corner of the British Isles will be chasing their dream of winning a gold medal when they compete at the Deaflympics, starting on 5 September.
On 31 August, the British Deaflympics Team (Team GB) will have fully assembled at their base in Taipei, venue of the 21st Summer Deaflympics.
They will join 4000 athletes from over 80 countries at these Games, which take place from 5 - 15 September.
The 80-strong squad is led by outstanding Deaflympian Rajeev Bagga, who is hoping to land his sixth individual gold medal in badminton.
Team GB are defending Deaflympic champions in Men's football, having clinched the gold medal with victory at the Melbourne 2005 Games.
Lee Farrell, who scored the dramatic late winner in the 2005 final, is in the squad, which is captained by Jonathan Evans.
Team GB also includes a Women's football squad, who will be aiming to improve on their impressive bronze medal placing of four years ago.
The athletic squad boasts current gold medallists in Joanne Davison (Women's hammer) and Lauren Peffers (Women's 800m). Several Team GB track and field athletes will be making their Deaflympic debuts.
Team GB is also represented in swimming, table tennis, tennis and - for the first time ever - in martial arts.
Andrew Yick carries the hopes of Britain in the Tae Kwon Do event .
Derek Simmons, Honorary President of UK Deaf Sport (UKDS), commented:
'We are tremendously proud of our athletes who have arrived in Taipei, ready to compete in the 21st Deaflympics.
'They have worked extremely hard to secure their places in Team GB and to compete against the world's best Deaf athletes.
'Following the UK Goverment's decision not to provide funding for Team GB, UKDS is very grateful to the many sponsors who have helped make it possible for the athletes to be in Taipei.
'While some athletes received donations, it is important to stress that a number of our squad took out personal loans in order to be able to compete at this level and represent Great Britain.
'We salute our athletes for their commitment to their country and to their sport. Now, we hope their efforts will be rewarded with a haul of medals from Taipei 2009.'
- ENDS -
Media Enquiries: Jonathan Reid/Martine Laverty ()
Notes for Editors
UK Deaf Sport - http://www.ukdeafsport.org.uk - is an organisation which 'aims to encourage Deaf people to participate in, to enjoy and to excel at sport.'
The 21st Summer Deaflympics take place in Taipei, Taiwan from 5 - 16 September 2009. Official website: http://english.2009deaflympics.org.
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