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September 29, 2004

Deaflympics comes to town

From: Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia - Sep 29, 2004

Tanya Giles

THE countdown has began for Melbourne 2005 Deaflympic Games.

There are only 99 days until the opening ceremony of the Games, which are being held in Australia for the first time since they began in 1924.

More than 3000 deaf and hearing-impaired athletes from 85 countries are expected to compete in 15 events, including shooting, tennis, swimming and orienteering.

Most events will be held in Melbourne, but cycling and the marathon will be raced in Ballarat.

Premier Steve Bracks said the State Government had provided $4 million for the event.

The Commonwealth has also provided funds.

"I'm proud Victoria has been given the right to host this wonderful event and I'm looking forward to joining all the athletes at the opening ceremony," Mr Bracks said.

"(The Games) are going to be a great occasion. The deaf and hard-of-hearing people in Australia and around the world will be here to celebrate what's good about sport and what's good about the connection that people make with each other."

Mr Bracks said the Games would provide an $18 million boost to the local economy. Up to 30,000 visitors are expected for the event.

The opening ceremony will be held at Olympic Park on January 5, and will be followed by 12 days of events.

© Herald and Weekly Times