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January 4, 2005

Team GB set for Deaflympic start

From: BBC Sport, UK - Jan 4, 2005

Middle-distance runner Candy Hawkins will carry the flag for the British team at the Deaflympic opening ceremony in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old has two Deaflympic gold medals from the Copenhagen Games in 1997, where she won the 800m and 1500m.

She missed the Games in Rome in four years ago through injury but will lead the 100-strong British delegation at the Olympic Park.

And she will hope to emulate her fellow Kent athlete Kelly Holmes on the track.

The Deaflympics are the world's second oldest multi-sport event, after the Olympics.

Four years ago, the British team came back from the Games in Rome with six medals but failed to win any golds.

The Games feature over 3,500 athletes from 75 countries around the world and is being held in Australia for the first time.

Great Britain will compete in eight of the 15 sports - men's and women's football, tennis, table tennis, athletics, swimming, badminton and 10-pin bowling.

The women's football team, who begin their campaign at 0500 GMT local time on Thursday against Norway, are the current European champions and have high hopes of success once again.

The athletics and tennis, in which GB are hopeful of picking up medals, also begin on Thursday while the swimming starts on Saturday.

Most of the British team flew out to Australia on Boxing Day and they saw in the New Year with a party at their training camp at the University of Ballarat.

The opening ceremony at Melbourne's Olympic Park will feature some leading Australian musical talent as well as 1,000 performers from the deaf and hard of hearing communities.

To ensure that those with hearing difficulties can enjoy the show, sign singers and a full range of communication technologies will be part of the ceremony.

Story from BBC SPORT:

Published: 2005/01/04 23:50:50 GMT