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Triathlon included at 2018 Australian Deaf Games

Triathlon included at 2018 Australian Deaf Games

For the first time in history of the Australian Deaf Games, triathlon will be included in the program at the 2018 Games in Albury-Wodonga. The inclusion of triathlon as an exhibition sport is also a world first for any Deaf sporting event. 

Deaf Sports Australia and Triathlon Australia with Triathlon Victoria are proud to announce for the first time in the history of Deaf Sports, triathlon will now be included in a Deaf sporting event, with the inaugural event, the Australian Deaf Games.

Triathlon will make its debut as an exhibition event at the 2018 Australian Deaf Games being held on 20-27 January in Albury/Wodonga. This is the 17th Australian Deaf Games, with the event attracting over 400 participants across 18 sports. These Games are a key platform for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community to compete at the highest level in Australia, and to strive for selection on the Australian Deaflympic Team. 

Triathlon Australia has a proud history of promoting equal opportunities and inclusion. It was one of the first sports to ensure the women professional triathletes received equal pay to the men. The sport also made its debut at the 2016 Rio Paralympics with Paratriathlon. The Australian team included six paratriathletes plus a Guide competing in Rio.

To be eligible, participants should have a hearing loss of 40 decibels or more in their better ear.  Athletes with Vision Impairment in addition to their hearing loss will also be able to compete with a Guide.

Triathlon Australia commends Albury Wodonga Triathlon Club and Triathlon Victoria for making this event part of the sporting schedule at the 2018 Australian Deaf Games, and providing deaf and hard of hearing athletes the opportunity to compete in triathlon at the highest level in Australia.

“We believe that triathlon offers a superior opportunity to people with a disability than many sports. All competitors take to the starting line and race the same course at the same time. We don’t see it as inclusion, we just see it as a basic human right for any individual who wants to take the multisport challenge. How many others sports can offer that” said Grant Cosgriff Executive Director at Triathlon Victoria

Deaf Sports Australia will also work with Triathlon Australia for its support in lobbying for the inclusion of triathlon in the 2021 Deaflympic Games. 

Paralympian Gold Medal winning paratriathlete and DSA Board member, Katie Kelly was first approached by long standing Deaf Sports Australia Coach and Administrator Annabel Bishop to lobby Triathlon for the sports inclusion in the Deaf Games.

“It was an incredibly proud moment to be part of the first Paratriathlon event at the Rio Paralympics, and now thanks to the continued support of Deaf Sports Australia and Triathlon Australia it is tremendous to see the sport now debut at the Australian Deaf Games. Deaf Sports Australia has a long and proud history of ensuring those in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community have an opportunity to participate and excel in their sporting pursuits. “

Katie has been involved in Triathlon for more than 20 years, and has been a Member of several clubs including Darwin Triathlon Club, Central Coast Triathlon club and now the newly formed Bond University Triathlon Club.  

“Although my vision and hearing has deteriorated over the years (due to a condition known as Usher Syndrome), I’ve always found my Triathlon Club a fantastic support to help me continue participating in Triathlon. Triathlon’s inclusion in the Games will ensure there is more encouragement and awareness, particularly for young Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who are keen to get involved in Triathlon.”

In addition to Katie, there are several outstanding triathletes who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing including several competing at the highest level and representing Australia. These include: 

Melinda Vernon, professional Triathlete
- 1st 2009 Sydney City2Surf
- 1st 5000m/1000m 2009 Summer Deaflympic Games (current World and Deaf Games records)
- Represented Australia in both elite able bodied and Deaf sports for Athletics and Triathlon including: Deaflympic Games (2009 & 2013), World Cross Country (XC) Championships (2008 & 2009), World Uni XC Champs (2008 & 2010), World Half Marathon Champs 2010, and International Chiba Ekiden Relays, Japan 2008.
- Started professional triathlon in 2013
- 1st 2015 Murakami ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup

Jonathan Goerlach, elite Paratriathlete:
- 6th 2017 World Championships for men’s Vision Impaired (VI)
- 1st Australian National Men’s VI -2013 – 2017
- 1st Oceania Men’s VI – 2014- 2017 
- Competed in five Paratriathlon VI World Championships from 2013-2017

Katie Kelly, elite Paratriathlete
- 1st 2017 World Championships women’s VI
- 1st 2016 Rio Paralympics VI
- 1st Australian National Women’s VI 2015-2017
- 1st Oceania Women’s VI 2017 and 2016

Registrations are now open for the inaugural Australian Deaf Games triathlon race. For all the details, click here.

The 2018 Australian Deaf Games are proudly sponsored by AlburyCity, Wodonga Council, Australian Hearing, Destinations NSW, Victorian Government, and many more.

Media Contact: 
Sherrie Beaver
Marketing & Communication Coordinator