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October 31, 2002

City's games coup

From: Ballarat Courier, Australia
Oct. 31, 2002


BALLARAT'S economy is set for a major boost with the city in line to host a large part of 2005 Deaflympic Games.

More than 4500 athletes from 90 countries are expected to compete at the games, to be held outside the United States and Europe for only the second time since 1924.

Ballarat is likely to vie for seven sports _ orienteering, basketball, volleyball, badminton, soccer, cycling and the marathon _ although final arrangements are yet to be made.

City of Ballarat major events manager Tracey Hull said up to 2000 athletes could possibly stay in Ballarat for between six to eight days during the event, providing a massive economic boost to the city.

The 20th Deaflympics will be staged from January 6 to 16, with other events to be staged in host city Melbourne and other parts of regional Victoria.

The last Deaflympics were held in Rome.

Ms Hull said the success of the World Masters Games rowing regatta proved Ballarat could host large sporting events.

"What we can really create in Ballarat is a good feeling that there is a major event happening in the community," Ms Hull said.

This year Ballarat has hosted both the World Masters Games and Australian University Games rowing regattas on Lake Wendouree and it is hoped the city will be able to attract basketball matches during the Commonwealth Games in 2004.

Federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp joined his state counterpart Justin Madden to make the announcement in Melbourne yesterday.

Senator Kemp said the games would give Australians an opportunity to contribute to increased understanding of deafness.

"It will also give hearing-impaired athletes the chance to compete in an elite international competition," he said.

Mr Madden said staging the event in Victoria would be a tremendous honour.

"As well as turning the world spotlight on us, the Deaflympics will be a fantastic boost for Melbourne and regional Victoria where a number of sports will be staged," Mr Madden said.

Both governments have committed $4 million each to support the staging of the event.

The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (CISS) welcomed the announcement.

President John Lovett said he expected Victoria would uphold its reputation for hosting major events.

"This is the number one international event for all deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the world," Mr Lovett said.

"I know Victoria and Australia will stage this event with professionalism and its success will prove a benchmark for future games."

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