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January 4, 2005

Deaflympics in Melbourne starting 6 January

From: ITTF, Switzerland - Jan 4, 2005

Glenn Tepper, Development Manager

More than 3600 athletes, from 78 countries will compete over 12 days in 15 sporting events at the Deaflympics starting in Melbourne, Australia tomorrow.

In total 30,000, athletes, officials, volunteers and supporters are expected.

The games began as a small gathering of 145 hearing impaired athletes from 9 countries competing in the International Silent Games in Paris in 1924, making the Deaflympics the worlds second oldest multiple sport games after the Olympics.

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

For table tennis the venue is the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre[MSAC], well known to players competing in the Australian Open Pro Tour events in the lead up to Sydney Olympics and also the venue for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Table tennis has 23 countries and 117 athletes participating.

In the Mens Teams event reigning champion Japan are the top seeds, followed by Germany, Korea and Ukraine.

In the Womens Teams event reigning champion Ukraine are the top seeds, followed by Japan, Germany, Russia.

Teams events start at 9am Melbourne time, 6 January.

In the singles events, 2001 gold medalist, Funakoshi Kyoko[JAP] will defend her title and is seeded No 1. Since 2001, Kyoko has married, and was Kohama Kyoko when she won the title.

In the Mens Singles, No 1 seed is Mark Mechau of Germany, the silver medalist in 2001 Deaflympics.

For results go to

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