Friday, February 23, 2024

Australian Deaf Games headed to Sunshine Coast

More than 1,000 athletes, officials, volunteers and visitors will converge on the Sunshine Coast for the 2026 Australian Deaf Games following the success of a joint application between the Sunshine Coast Council and Tourism and Events Queensland to host the multi-sport event.

Deaf Sports Australia (DSA) General Manager, Phil Harper and Vice President, Kathryn Armfield recently joined Sunshine Coast Councillor, Jason O’Pray to announce the 2026 Games location.

“The Games will draw Deaf and Hard of Hearing athletes and supporters from across Australia and the Pacific to the Sunshine Coast, providing a significant boost to local businesses and bringing one of Australia’s most vibrant and inclusive sporting events to the region,” Mr Harper said.

Events will be spread over more than a dozen venues across the region, with opening and closing ceremonies to be held at the Caloundra Indoor Sports Stadium and Sunshine Coast Stadium respectively. A centrally located Games Hub will serve as a base for registrations, media, workshops, and other activities.

Athletes will compete across a range of sports including futsal, basketball, beach volleyball, golf, swimming, darts, athletics, rugby sevens, netball and tennis.

Councillor O’Pray said hosting the Australian Deaf Games would help grow awareness of the Sunshine Coast as one of Queensland’s and Australia’s premier regions for all event types.

“We’re particularly proud to welcome the Australian Deaf Games athletes, coaches and supporters to the Sunshine Coast in 2026 and further demonstrate our experience and aptitude for hosting inclusive sports and accessibility to visitors to the region,” Cr O’Pray said.

“These Games will provide a major social and cultural festival for the Australian Deaf community.

“The Sunshine Coast local community is very welcoming and will embrace and support these athletes to achieve their personal best when competing and enjoying our many attractions and natural assets.”

Member for Caloundra, Jason Hunt said the 2026 Australian Deaf Games will bring thousands of visitors to the Sunshine Coast region and inject millions into the Queensland economy.

“The Caloundra Indoor Sports Stadium and the Sunshine Coast Sports Stadium are both world-class venues on the doorstep of some of Australia’s most iconic beaches, providing the perfect backdrop for the 2026 Australian Deaf Games,” he said.

“This event will draw thousands of visitors to the region, while injecting more than $2.5 million into the local visitor economy and supporting good Queensland tourism jobs.

“Queensland is fast establishing itself as the major sports event capital of Australia and with the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon, the Sunshine Coast with its first-class facilities and unmatched destinations is set to be a major beneficiary.”

Deaf Sports Australia Project Manager, Garry West-Bail congratulated Sunshine Coast Council and the Queensland Government on their successful bid.

He said, “we aim to be able to have everybody sharing their sunshine moments by achieving together and highlighting our event that brings together Deaf and hard of hearing Australians in a multi-sport environment that enables all participants opportunities to compete to whatever level they aspire”.

The final dates for the 2026 Australian Deaf Games are yet to be formalised but it is likely to take place in the June – July school holiday period. Deaf Sports Australia will recruit a Games Organising Committee to oversee the coordination of the event.

The 2026 Australian Deaf Games is supported by Sunshine Coast Council and the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar. 

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