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January 6, 2005

20th Deaflympics open in Melbourne, Australia

From: Xinhua, China - Jan 6, 2005

CANBERRA, Jan. 5 (Xinhuanet) -- The 20th Deaflympic Summer Games opened in a ceremony held at Olympic Park in Melbourne, capital ofthe state of Victoria, at Wednesday night.

Some 3,000 athletes from 78 countries and regions will compete in 15 sporting events at the 15-day Games, which will end on January 16.

This is the first Deaflympics held in Australia. The competition proper will get underway on Thursday.

The listed sports include track and field, swimming, cycling and soccer. The only non-Olympic sport is tenpin bowling.

Some 30,000 athletes, officials, volunteers and supporters are expected.

The games began as a small gathering of 145 hearing impaired athletes from nine countries competing in the International Silent Games in Paris in 1924, making the Deaflympics the world's second oldest multiple sport games after the Olympics.

The Deaflympics are now held every 4 years in the year following the Summer Olympics.


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