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January 6, 2005

A sound start for Deaflympics

From:, Australia - Jan 6, 2005

Shannon McRae
January 6, 2005

THE applause may have been inaudible, but it lacked nothing in vigour as thousands of hands waved to welcome the 20th Deaflympics to Melbourne last night. Deaflympics

Fans filled Olympic Park for the opening ceremony, highlighted by a parade of 3500 athletes and officials from around the world.

Hearing-impaired athletes and spectators clasped balloons to channel musical vibrations to their receptive hands as performers including Guy Sebastian, Paulini, Sophie Monk and David Campbell stepped on to the stage.

From tiny contingents representing Algeria, Kuwait and Armenia to the Aussies and super teams from Britain and Germany, all corners of the world were represented.

Sports including basketball, tennis, swimming, athletics and wrestling will feature in the 10-day program.

Athletes competing in the Deaflympics must have a hearing loss of 55 decibels or more in their better ear.

Australia has been represented at every Deaflympics since 1965, in Washington. The first Deaflympics were in 1924 in Paris, and this year's Games marks the first time Australia has hosted the event.

More than 150 gold medals will be presented during competition, while a mammoth Melbourne workforce will dish out more than 15,000 meals to competitors and officials.

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Copyright 2004 News Limited. All times AEST (GMT+10).