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January 5, 2005

Riders from 14 nations in Ballarat

From: Ballarat Courier, Australia - Jan 5, 2005

CYCLISTS from 14 nations will hit the streets of Ballarat today with the first day of competition in the 2005 Melbourne Deaflympic Games.

Cycling is one of three Deaflympic sports being contested in Ballarat over next nine days.

Ballarat has the distinction of being the only Deaflympic Games venue outside Melbourne.

Twenty-six riders are expected to vie for gold in the 1000-metre sprint in the Lake Wendouree precinct this afternoon, with the course taking in Wendouree Parade, Mair Street and Pleasant Street

The United States and Czech Republic each have five representatives - the maximum number allowed - while Australia has four.

Brazil, France, Canada, Germany, Slovania and Slovakia are among other countries with riders.

Four days of cycling headline the Deaflympics program in Ballarat, which also features a three-day orienteering schedule, and the men's and women's marathon.

In all, the Deaflympics will have seven days of competition in the city.

CYCLING: today, Saturday, Monday, Wednesday.

ORIENTEERING: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday.

MARATHON: Friday, January 24. Venues will take in the Lake Wendouree precinct, Victoria Park, Avenue of Honour and Buninyong, where an internationally acclaimed 10-kilometre road cycling circuit will be back in action.

Events Ballarat manager Tracey Hull is calling on the public to get out and support the event.

"There's going to be some great competition.

"It's important the community supports the athletes who have travelled from around the world to contest the Deaflympics," she said.

Ms Hull said Ballarat's reputation for backing special events in sporting and other fields had been a key factor in getting these Games events, which have been substantially financially supported by Telstra Country Wide.

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