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March 3, 2003

Strong Competition Expected In The 14th Deaf Games

From: Bernama, Malaysia - 03 Mar 2003

By Nor Baizura Basri
KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 (Bernama) -- For the first time, stiff competition is expected among local and foreign athletes when they compete in the 14th National Deaf Games (NDG) to be held in Langkawi in May.

In this year's championship, hosted by the Kedah Deaf Association (KDA), athletes from the region will participate.

"We have invited athletes from Asean countries with the intention to expose national athletes at international level, besides exchanging views with other sports associations," KDA secretary Syed Osman Syed Hussain said.

New talents for the 7th Asia Pacific Deaf Sports in Kuwait next year would also be selected from this year's games. Besides, weaknesses of our athletes could be identified, he said.

Previously NDG was known as the Inter Deaf Club Sports Championship, introduced in 1995 by the Deaf Association involving four contingents from Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Selangor.

The games will attract 127 participants -- making it a challenging regional level championship for deaf athletes.

The biennial games continue to gain more publicity, as it is a unique championship meant for people with hearing disabilites which is organised with the cooperation of the Malaysian Deaf Games Association (MDGA).

MDGA was officially registered on Sept 26, 1997 -- aimed at developing programmes including sports activities for the deaf.

Syed Osman said besides improving existing deaf athletes' performances, MDGA strives to infuse new talents into the national team to enable them to compete at international events.

The success of several athletes at national and international levels prove that physical disability is not an obstacle for a person to succeed.

"We may be deaf but capable to compete with normal athletes and create surprises at international levels," he said.

In 2001, national deaf athletes performed remarkably well in the Deaflympic in Italy in the men's 100m hurdles, where Malaysia won a gold, and took three silver medals through the badminton team.

Malaysia also won three gold medals, two silver and three bronze in the 6th Asia Pacific Deaf Sports in 2000.

Syed Osman said Langkawi was selected as this year's venue because of its strategic location and equipped with various sports facilities.

This year's mascot is "Sang Helang" and he hoped the championship will go smoothly. KDA is trying to obtain sponsors for the games which had attained international standard.

The 14th meet, to be held from May 31 to June 5, will involve 23 contingents and five new events will be included -- handball, volleyball, swimming, sepak takraw and basketball.


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