26th July – 4th August 2013
Results of GB Team Medals:
This summer a majority of Deaf people went to see the 22nd Summer Deaflympics in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria. The summer weather was a really good blessing. It was great to go and wish the deaf athletes well in their sports, their lifetime achievements and their winnings.
I was born in the Czech Republic but now live in the United Kingdom. I went to the games to support Deaf people and watch other athletes who come from different countries. The two countries I supported this year were the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom.
It was a great experience to see such professional Deaf people in sport that were happily competing with each other!
The Summer Deaflympics have a wide variety of sports as you can see on its website – there are also many lovely eagle mascots!
During the Deaflympics I tried to attend all the different sports and supported all the teams from all around the world. Their timetabling was a huge challenge so I had to pick which one sport I wanted to attend.
It was not easy to attend all the various sports on the same day as they were located far apart from each other. This time when I wanted to attend two venues I managed to grab a taxi and saw two different sports on that day. Sadly Football was very far away from Sofia so I was not able to support the Deaf UK Football Team.
Mainly I attended the Swimming, Basketball, Beach Volleyball and Badminton matches. The swimming mainly started at 5pm and we had chance to attend the Beach Volleyball to support the Czech Team, sadly they lost the game.
Out of all the sports, I really liked the Basketball matches.
My favourite was the Men’s Basketball match between the USA vs. Venezuela. It was an extraordinary experience to see such professional players. Americans are very good at basketball!
Lastly in Badminton I supported Rajeev Bagga, who is a famous UK Deaf Badminton player with many titles. He is the holder of 14 gold medals for Deaflympics over a period of 25 years (7 consecutive Deaflympics). He also has 1 silver and 1 bronze medal and this time I think he played his best. He was playing very fast and he was very good in catching shuttlecocks and attacking the other court. This time we were sad because he did not win, but we were mostly sad because it was his last Deaflympics Badminton tournament. He is retiring from the sport.
You can see his achievements and titles on http://www.deaflympics.com/athletes.asp?9397 bibliography http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajeev_Bagga and interview http://www.bslzone.co.uk/sofia-2013-deaflympics/athlete-profiles/rajeev-bagga/
On the last day I attended the final of Women’s Volleyball. It was Japan and the Ukraine playing. It was a unique atmosphere which reminded us of the 21st Summer Deaflympics in Taipei. We met many exotic people and it was a really good time to make new friends from other countries and continents and we had a chance to exchange contact details to keep in touch.
The closing ceremony was very emotional. I saw many Deaf sportsmen and women from all over the world each supporting their own countries flags. It was great to see the different cultures on show, how they greeted us and we greeted them back.
It was the first time in my life that I stayed full time at the Deaflympics and I learned International Sign Language, ASL, Japan Sign Language and other languages and Deaf cultures. It was amazing! There is a trick of Sign Language Family Line where you can see how Deaf Sign Language has developed across the world! 🙂
I advise everyone to attend the 23rd Winter Deaflympics maybe it will be held in Russia and the 24th Summer Deaflympics which will be held in Turkey in 2017. Please check out for updates in nearer time at http://www.deaflympics.com
By Lenka, Prokes.