Border wins Australian Deaf Games

17 January 2016

Albury-Wodonga will host the Australian Deaf Games in 2018, attracting 1000 competitors and delivering an estimated $3M to the local economy. The announcement was made on Saturday night at the closing of the 2016 Games in Adelaide.

The games are run by Deaf Sports Australia and will be held in Albury and Wodonga from 20-27 January in 2018, following the Australian National Junior Country Cup basketball event.

AlburyCity Mayor Henk van de Ven said it was a coup for the Border and only the second time the Games had been held outside a capital city since they started in 1965. Geelong hosted the games in 2012.

"We look forward to welcoming 1000 athletes, plus interpreters, visitors, officials and volunteers from around Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa," Cr van de Ven said.  "It's anticipated the games will bring an economic benefit of about $3M to the Border."

But Cr van de Ven said a figure could not be put on the benefit to the community of hosting the games. "This is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together to support and encourage our local deaf and hearing-impaired community," he said.

Wodonga Council Mayor Anna Speedie said Wodonga and AlburyCity had worked together to submit a compelling bid to host the games.

"This is a great example of Victoria and NSW, Wodonga and Albury working together to attract a great event that will benefit the Border," Cr Speedie said. "Wodonga Council and AlburyCity will hold the games in partnership with Destination NSW and Sport and Recreation Victoria."

Cr Speedie said the high standard of the Border's sporting venues helped the cities win the Games. "Venues including the Wodonga Tennis Centre, Martin Park, Lauren Jackson Sports Centre and Albury Swim Centre, will host 17 sports such as swimming, netball, basketball, cricket and tennis."

Deaf Sports Australia General Manager Garry West-Bail said the Australian Deaf Games was the pinnacle multi-sport event for deaf and hard of hearing people in Australia and the Border won the games because of its quality sporting facilities. "We were impressed by the passion and commitment shown by AlburyCity and Wodonga Council to hold a world-class sporting event that will truly be a community games."

Normally held every four years, the games have been moved to two years to provide a pathway for athletes through to international competition in the Asia Pacific Deaf Games and Deaflympics.

It's estimated there are more than 1000 deaf and hearing-impaired people in the Border region and surrounding areas.