The Australian Deaf Games are underway in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle this week, celebrating inclusivity, sportsmanship and wellbeing with the support of the region’s local councils.
Following a false start in 2022 due to COVID, the games kicked off on January 13th, featuring more than 1,000 competitors hailing from all over Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, across 20 sports.
Some of Lake Mac’s top sporting venues will play host throughout the week of events, with golf at Waratah Golf Club, athletics at Hunter Sports Stadium, soccer at the Regional Football Stadium at Speers Point and swimming at Toronto, to name a few.
Deaf Sports Australia Vice President, Kathryn Armfield said the athletes and organisers were excited to explore the Hunter region throughout the 60th anniversary of the event, which will also double as the first Oceania Deaf Games.
“What’s extra exciting about this event is that it’s also the first Oceania Deaf Games, whereby Pacific countries have been invited to attend and compete,” she said.
“The Australian and Oceania Deaf Games is not just a multi-sport event but also a major social and cultural celebration of the Australian Deaf Community.
“We welcome old faces and new faces with the hope that everyone goes home with new and renewed friendships and self-affirmation in themselves.”
The program highlights will extend beyond the sporting field with a range of peripheral activities including: Auslan storytime and lessons, a movie night at Warners Bay Theatre, baramayiba, lake cruises, an immersive all ages disco and an epic closing ceremony at the Multi-Arts Pavilion (MAP) on Saturday 20 January.
Lake Macquarie Mayor, Kay Fraser said it was an exciting opportunity to showcase the city’s world class inclusive sporting facilities and visitor attractions.
“From competition at our evolving Hunter Sports Stadium to the cultural offerings of curator tours of exhibitions at our Museum of Art and Culture, yapang and MAP mima, there’s no shortage of things to enjoy in and out of the sporting arena this week,” she said.
“The closing ceremony at MAP mima will be a fitting finale to a week of fierce competition, friendship and unity, coinciding with our annual Lake Mac Festival.
“I encourage the community to come along and enjoy the games, support the competitors and make this Australian Deaf Games the best one yet.”
The 2024 Australian Deaf Games are jointly hosted and supported by Lake Macquarie City Council and City of Newcastle Council.